Making good broth with meat isn’t nearly as challenging making a rich tasty broth using only vegetables. You can’t just throw any and all vegetables into a pot of water and expect something great on the other end. A lot of vegetables are bitter, and some that taste great on their own, spoil the party when added to others.
This is a basic, full-flavored broth that would make a great substitute in recipes calling for meat or fish broth/stock.
One ingredient I’ve left out is garlic, which is unusual for vegetable broth. I love garlic, but sometimes it gets thrown into everything without much thought. When it’s present, it can take center stage, so to me it doesn’t belong in a broth that might be used for a delicate soup. You can always add garlic later.
Vegetable Broth (makes about 1 quart)
8 cups (2 liters) water
0.5 oz. (15g) dried porcini mushrooms
2 Tbsps. (30ml) olive oil or other vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large or 4 medium carrots, chopped
1 rib celery including top, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
1 bay leaf
A few springs of thyme
4 black peppercorns
A few sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley
Bring the water to a boil and add the dried porcini mushrooms. Set aside to steep for one hour. Remove the mushrooms, chop them and add them back to the water.
Heat the olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and fennel and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
Add the thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns and parsley and cook another minute.
Add the mushrooms and their water to the pot.
Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and let cook, uncovered, for 2 hours. Take off the heat and let cool. Strain through cheese cloth to make sure you get any grit that might have been attached to the mushrooms. If you’re not using the broth right away, freeze in an airtight container or bag.