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Vegetable stock

A good vegetable stock, built around the deep savoury notes of bay and celery and the delicate sweetness of onion and carrot, is invaluable for giving body to many soups. You’ll also find it indispensable for stews, risottos, gratins and curries. Try to keep some of this in the freezer – though it can be rustled up in no time if you have the ingredients to hand.


Coarsely grate the onions, carrots, celery and garlic – or chop them, if you prefer, but in fairly small pieces. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and tip in the vegetables, garlic, herbs and peppercorns. Sauté, stirring from time to time, for about 5 minutes or until the veg have softened slightly (you’re largely doing this to mellow the raw onion).

Add the wine, if you are using it, then 1.75 litres boiling water from the kettle. Bring back to the boil and simmer, uncovered. If all your veg were grated, the stock will be ready in about 10 minutes. If they were in larger chunks, give it 20–30 minutes. Either way, strain the stock and use straight away, or cool, then refrigerate or freeze.

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  • 2 large or 3 medium onions
  • 3 large or 4 medium carrots
  • 3–4 celery stalks
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves, roughly torn
  • A sprig of thyme and/or some parsley stalks, if you have them
  • A few black peppercorns
  • ½ small glass dry white wine (optional)

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Veg Every Day!