Stock: culinary ambrosia. A perfect candidate for the slow cooker. I have to admit, the non-vegetarian stocks are much easier to work with, in terms of creating high quality. Sure there are plenty of ways to go in terms of herbs or spices, but it’s really the bones that make the stock. Everything else after that is just gravy (no pun intended).
It’s the fat, really. Fat makes just about everything taste better and, well, veggies aren’t exactly on the plump end of that spectrum. Every time I make vegetable stock I change it up a little, in constant search of something that will put it on its own pillar. Taking a page from Heather’s book, I decided to employ the use mushrooms; something I’ve never been fond of. I have to admit they added a great dimension and this is by far my best tasting stock yet. I guess I’ll have to give the ol’ fungus another shot.
I got a bit too much burning on my sliced mushrooms, so I’ve modified the recipe to just halve them. Be sure to cut and discard anything that’s simply burnt instead of browned.
1 parsnip; peeled and cut in half lengthwise
2 carrots; peeled and cut in half lengthwise
2 medium yellow onions; quartered
1 potato (I used russet); chopped into 1 1/2 inch pieces, roughly
1 turnip; peeled and chopped into 1 1/2 inch pieces, roughly
5oz mushrooms; halved
2 stalks celery; cut into 1 inch pieces
4 garlic cloves; unpeeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Put all your vegetables and mushrooms in baking sheets, evenly spaced, and drizzle with oil. Roast in a 450° oven for 30 minutes; rotating halfway through. Throw into a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker with 12 cups of water and cook, covered, for 8 hours.
Let the stock cool for a bit strain through a a fine mesh sieve. Let drain a bit and press/mash the veggies a bit to release some of the liquid. If you only have a small one (like me), simply scoop out your veggies a bit of a time, dumping the leftover vegetables as you go.
Let cool to room temperature and portion into several tightly sealed containers. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for several months. Enjoy!