There's not much in the kitchen that's more straightforward than making vegetable stock. You literally add water and let the veggies simmer for a bit. You can freeze the result in half-cup increments for future use (use a muffin pan to make these giant "cubes"), or use the stock right away to make a soup or stew. You can play with the flavor by adding different vegetables or roasting the vegetables beforehand for a richer tasting stock. If you do this, cut the simmering time in half.
Makes 4 quarts
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and quartered
3 large leeks, trimmed and coarsely chopped
3 large onions, peeled and quartered
1 rutabaga, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 pound mushroom stems or whole mushrooms, washed
Combine the vegetables in a large stockpot. Add enough water to cover by an inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce the heat. Simmer gently for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the stock is nicely flavored. Strain the stock. Let it cool to room temperature. When cool, transfer to lidded containers and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze as directed above.
Adapted from Sustainably Delicious by Michel Nischan, Rodale Books, 2010. Copyright © 2010 by Michel Nischan.