Vegetable Stock - White Bean Puree

This stock is comprised of easy and available ingredients designed to serve as a foundation for a flavorful stock, "as-is", or to transform into your own unique creation. The beauty of stock is that it can be customized to your palate or with whatever you have on hand. The only exceptions that I stand by are that I shy away from anything that compromises the clarity of the broth; in other words, ground spices, ground herbs, starchy vegetables like potato or corn. Really think about the flavors you want to draw out of your stock and use those fresh ingredients. My red stock, for example, welcomes the addition of roma tomatoes, cremini mushrooms and marjoram. As with many recipes, roasting vegetables first provides a complexity and depth of flavor that is deeply satisfying.

Ingredients:

10 cups of filtered water

3 large carrots, chopped (or equal portion of baby carrots)

3 celery stalks, chopped

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

1/2 fennel bulb, chopped

1/2 leek (white and light green only), rinsed well and sliced

2 bay leaves

Thyme-6 sprigs or so (be generous)

Parsley-6 sprigs or so, small bunch

Garlic - LOTS

As with most of my soups, I love to take an extra moment to roast my vegetables. For stocks, I consider it essential. It imparts a more complex and satisfying flavor in the final product. Be mindful that everything has a relatively uniform, smaller cut for equal roasting, and then lightly dress with algae oil, salt, pepper. I do leave out the bay leaves, thyme and parsley in this initial stage, as they are set aside for the simmering stage on the stove. Set the oven to 465 degrees (I don't know why, it's just my go-to temperature) and cover with foil. I check after about 30 minutes or so, give the batch a solid stir, remove the foil and let everything develop a rich, golden roast, another 15-20 minutes or so. After roasting, the solids are ready to dive into their water bath that is waiting on the stove. 

In a medium pot containing the filtered water, add the roasted vegetables and herbs and bring to a simmer. It's up to you whether you want to make a bouquet with your herbs to pull out later. I personally like the herbs to swim freely with everything else, so I opt out of that for this particular recipe. Initially, I'll stir the stock to marry all of the ingredients, but after that, leave it alone. Cover, simmer and forget about it for about an hour. I find that 60 minutes is perfect for me, but don't go more than 90 minutes, otherwise the vegetables will fall apart and you'll lose the clarity and flavor you are seeking from your stock.

Time to taste. Feel free to add in a few more herbs and simmer a few moments longer, but I really, really, really try to shy away from seasoning with salt.  Sometimes a generous pinch really helps pull everything together, but don't use it as your primary flavoring source; otherwise, your naturally beautiful stock will taste....like salt.

This batch typically yields anywhere between 8-9 cups, depending on how much has been simmered down. It can be used right away, refrigerated, or frozen for later. Don't neglect those scraps! These are headed straight for the compost:

As for the solids, as you can see, it yields a little bit more than this mason jar holds. I make a soup right away from them, one of my favorites being a white bean and vegetable puree. It couldn't be easier: throw those solids into a Ninja or Vitamix, add a can of white or cannellini beans, add back to a pot set over low heat and thin out to your preference with your fresh stock. Here, I season with some rosemary, salt, pepper and voila-a very nourishing reward for all of your hard work.

Enjoy!