Monday, September 10, 2007

Vegetable Stock Recipe

A couple years ago I quite serendipitously had dinner in a small bistro-style restaurant called Le Petit Blanc (now Brasserie Blanc) in Oxford UK.

I had been given a coupon for a two-course dinner for 10 British pounds by my client. Since he was paying my travel expenses, I felt compelled to use it but wasn't expecting very much from the restaurant.

To my surprise, I had a superb meal and came away with a recipe for vegetable stock that I've used several times since with great success.

I ordered poached fish (dorade) as a starter - it was bathed in an intensely flavorful sauce that had the barest hint of cream in it. The cream added a slight richness but the flavors clearly emanated from the stock - what I incorrectly thought was chicken stock.

I complemented my server on the dish and asked her what the tasty broth was made from. She went into the kitchen to find out, returning moments later to inform me it was vegetable stock. I was stunned - surely vegetable stock could not be this intensely flavored! So I asked if she could find out what ingredients they used to make it. After about 10 minutes she returned just as I was polishing off my lamb main course with the entire recipe written on a slip of paper!!

Here it is below - I suggest using it to poach fish or chicken and to inject flavor without fat or added calories into just about any recipe calling for broth. For example, this stock is superb in risotto - it lightens the dish up but without sacrificing one iota of flavor. It is also an excellent addition to legume based soups and even some pasta dishes.


1 tablespoon pepper corns
1 teaspon dried thyme
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon salt
5 star anise

3 carrots chopped
3 ribs of celery chopped
3 garlic gloves
3 leeks or one large onion chopped
1 cup of fresh coriander leaves
1 cup chopped fennel (optional)
5 quarts of water

1. Fill large saucepot with 5 quarts of water
2. Add fresh ingredients and bring to a boil.
3. Simmer for about 30 minutes then add dried ingredients
4. Simmer for 4-5 hours adding some additional water every now and then if needed.
5. Take off heat and set aside overnight.
6. Drain and strain through sieve next day.

Will keep 6-12 months frozen.