Stocks are used as the foundation of many dishes and making stock is a simple process that will improve your cooking immeasurably. Though meaty stocks often take a long time to make, vegetable stocks are usually a lot quicker to prepare and, if made correctly, easily match their depth of flavour.
There are two main types of vegetable stock:
White vegetable stocks are typically colourless and mild in taste, adding a subtle flavour to dishes.
Brown vegetable stocks are rich and deep in colour, adding a more robust flavour. This is achieved by roasting the vegetables before making the stock.
Vegetables that should be avoided include starchy vegetables such as potatoes and parsnips as well as fresh tomatoes. This is because they break down easily creating a cloudy liquid rather than a clear, colourless one.
Also avoid green vegetables such as broccoli, courgettes and green beans. When simmered for too long these vegetables produce an unpleasant flavour and smell.
To make a darker stock, roast the vegetables in the oven for 30 minutes and stir through a little tomato purée before adding the water.
If making a stock to use with fish, you may want to add fennel, star anise or lemon.