Friday, 21 March 2014

Mock "Chicken" Stock - Vegetarian, Vegan Broth

Many years ago, when soup stocks didn't come in cartons, and vegetarian soup stocks didn't come at all, I needed to create a broth to use for soups for my vegetarian friends. Cookbooks at the time advised saving all your vegetable peelings, and cooking them in water for hours, just like soup bones.

It took me several attempts to figure out why these always tasted of nothing but overcooked vegetables.


Yeah, I know. But they said you could, in actual printed cookbooks!

Anyway, I still needed a vegetarian soup stock, so I put on my thinking cap, and over the years this is where I have arrived, so far as mock chicken stock anyway. You know how I'm always going on about saving your shiitake mushroom stems? Yep, this is where they go.

I hope it's clear from my ingredient list that you need one celery type thing, one carrot type thing, and one parsnip or parsley type thing; it's just that the exact form can depend on the season and what you have on hand. Peelings and trimmings are thriftier, but sometimes you just need to make soup so whole veggies it has to be.

Even if you are not a vegetarian, this is a handy broth to be able to make because it is so much quicker than real chicken broth. Note that it should NOT be simmered for hours - 30 minute is about the maximum, and 20 minutes may be better depending on how hard it is simmering. But you don't want to take it into that overcooked vegetable territory, so taste it occasionally after the 15 minute mark.

I have not tried it but I don't see why this wouldn't freeze well.

The only drawback it has is that it does tend to separate, so you may wish to thicken it with a little starch, which should slow down the precipitation process. I tend to use it in recipes rather than straight up, which makes that less of a problem. I would have said this is not quite as good as real chicken stock, and if we are talking chicken stock you make yourself I'd still say that's the case. However, I would not hesitate to back it against some of the so-called chicken stocks that come out of cartons.

Make about 4 cups (1 quart; 1 litre)
30 to 40 minutes prep time

the ingredients in the pot

The ingredients in the pot, ready to start cooking, above; and the finished stock, below, ready to be used to make soup or whereever chicken stock is called for.

the finished broth

1 cup diced celeriac
OR 1 large stalk of celery, OR equivalent trimmings;
1 medium carrot OR the peelings from 3 carrots;
1 small parsnip OR parsley root, OR the peelings from 2 parsnips
OR a small handful of fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon dried chives (optional)
2 tablespoons good tasting yeast
1/2 cup dried shiitake mushroom stems
4 cups of water
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt

If using entire pieces of vegetable, wash them very well, trim them as needed, and cut them into large bite-sized chunks.

Put all the ingredients in a large pot, and  bring them to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes - no longer. Strain well and add the salt while it is still warm. Start with 1/2 teaspoon and taste it. Add more if needed, but consider what else you are adding to the soup. Also, you can top it up with water to make 4 cups if some has boiled off, but it cooks quickly and covered so it shouldn't lose too much.


Melynda Brown said...

This would be lovely to sip on those cold days when you need something warm and nourishing at the same time. Thanks.

Celia said...

I freeze all my veg scraps, then make a big batch of this when I have a full bag. I then let it cool, and pour it into muffin tins to freeze. Then I pop those out into a freezer bag to grab whenever I need stock.

Danielle said...

It took me a while to realize that vegetable broth is best with a short simmer as well! Thanks for sharing your recipe as I would never have thought to add dried mushrooms but that sounds like a great idea! I keep scraps of veg in the freezer and add them to my chicken stocks or make a purely veg stock if I need to clear out my freezer. I haven't bought broth in years!

Linda said...

This looks and sounds awesome! Thank you so much for sharing, and greetings from Montreal.

Peter Tschirhart said...

The colour looks great!

Ferdzy said...

Thanks for all your comments, and welcome, Linda (everybody else too of course... )