Almost a year ago, one of my friends gave me a soup recipe which I still haven't tried. I wanted to try that out but, it has vegetable broth in it. I was lazy to go to the store to get it and when I looked online, there were plenty of ideas of how to make it at home.
There is a big difference between broth and stock. Vegetable stock cannot be made technically since stock uses bones. Broth is made by actual meat or vegetables in this case whereas stock is made with left over bones which might have a little bit of meat on them. Stock gets a jelly texture since the bones are used in them. I found out the difference today if anyone reading this post cares about it.
Making vegetable broth is quite simple. Throw in all the vegetables and boil in water for one hour. Strain and you have the vegetable broth ready. I froze half of it for later use and the remaining are in the refrigerator waiting for me to make soup.
Vegetables used here can be varied to suit your needs. I used what I had. You could use squash, fennel, pumpkin etc.
Red onions - 3 medium or 2 large quartered and then halved so you have 8 pieces from each
Carrots - 4 peeled and cut into large chunks
Celery - 4 outer leaves removed and cut into big chunks
Potato - 2 small or 1 big cut into big chunks (You can skip this, but it gives the broth starch that helps in thickening)
Asparagus - about a cup of thick bottom part which you would discard or have to peel (optional - I had them so used it up this way)
Bay Leaves - 2
Pepper corns - 1 TBSP
Green Chillies - 5 whole (optional. I used it since I like my soups to have some heat)
Garlic - 7 pods crushed very lightly so that they are still like pods
In a big stock pot, add all the ingredients. Add about 7 cups of water and bring to a boil. When it starts boiling, simmer the heat and cover with a lid. Set the timer for one hour. When an hour has passed, turn off the heat. Strain using a strainer and cool. If using within 3 - 4 days, refrigerate. Otherwise freeze them. I got totally 4 1/2 cups of broth from this. I froze 2 cups in a container and will be using the rest in a day or two.
You could caramelize the vegetables and then boil them. In that case, spread all the vegetables on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 F. Then add them to the water in the stock pot and boil them. I didn't have time to do that today so I didn't do it. You can add some herbs like thyme or rosemary or cilantro to the boiling water. I left it out since it is easy to flavor the soup/dish with whatever we want later. You could add salt, but I didn't since it'll give me a better control on salt when I actually use it to make soup. You can add some ginger root if you are making Asian flavored soup or a dish.
Enjoy your weekend!!