February 26, 2015
The idea here is to create a rich, satisfying stock that even a meat eater will happily slurp down. Depending on how we plan to use the stock, we vary the ratio of certain ingredients to make either the mushrooms, fennel, or leeks come forward. Mushrooms, kombu (a type of seaweed), and tomatoes bring a meaty umami quality, which contributes to the body and texture of vegetable-based stocks. So I do recommend using small amounts of these, as in this recipe.
Yield: Makes 3.8 L
- In a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium heat, warm the olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add the onions, carrots, celery, fennel bulb and tops, and garlic and sauté until the vegetables just start to soften, about 20 minutes. Add water to cover the vegetables by about 2 in [5 cm]. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat and cook for 5 minutes. Lower the heat and bring to a mellow simmer. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms, kombu, leeks (if using), parsley, thyme, and bay leaves and continue simmering for 1 hour, adding more water as necessary to keep the vegetables covered.
- Season with salt and remove the kombu from the pot. Continue to cook, tasting the broth every 15 minutes, until it has the desired body and flavor.
- Remove the stock from the heat and let sit, undisturbed, for about 20 minutes. Set a medium-mesh strainer over a container large enough to hold all the liquid, and strain the stock. Discard the solids and allow the stock to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Skim any fat from the surface before using.