Vegetable stock is cheap, easy to make, and amazingly versatile - and essential for cooking vegetarian soups and stews and sauces. The basic version includes onion, celery and carrots – add or delete vegetables according to your own tastes and the produce you have on hand.
Put the prepared vegetables and thyme in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Sprinkle with kosher salt and a little freshly ground pepper, and toss with olive oil.
Place vegetables in the preheated oven. Stir the vegetable every 20 minutes. Cook until all of the vegetables have browned and the onions start to caramelize, this will take about an hour.
Transfer the cooked vegetables to a large large stock pot. Add water, peppercorns, cloves, bay leaf, and a dash or two of hot sauce. Bring to a full boil, and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered until liquid is reduced by about half (I tend to boil it a little longer - I like my stock rich and robust. It takes about an hour and a half to reduce the stock. Stir every once and awhile, but otherwise, just let it do its thing. Taste and season with more kosher salt, pepper, etc, until it fits your personal tastes. I usually add a teaspoon or so of brown sugar and some garlic powder.
Pour the reduced stock through a sieve. Stock can be used immediately, or stored in the refrigerator for later use, or frozen.
Makes about 2 quarts.
Technically, since this is seasoned when prepared, it is a broth, but "broth" sounds like something you eat when you're sick, so I'm calling it stock.
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