How do you add intense flavour to your pasta sauces, soups, risotto etc without using meat stock or commercially bought stock cubes? Answer: see title. 
After seeing a video of the same recipe on the ChefSteps Youtube Channel we had a go at making some of our own.
Not only does it taste excellent but there are a couple of other good reasons to make your own. Firstly, they’ll be no artificial flavour, resulting in a totally natural stock. Secondly, you can make use of all those vegetable trimmings that would otherwise make great compost material, or often just be thrown away. 

What I tend to do is stockpile a lot of my vegetable trimmings in our chest freezer and continue to top it up as and when until I feel I have enough to make a nice batch of “demi”. I keep things like washed carrot peel, cauliflower core and leaves, broccoli stalk peelings and leaves, aubergine and courgette peel, celery leaves, kale stalks, parsnip peel, the tough green part of leeks and outer cabbage leaves and core. When it comes to making the stock I add to my stash of trimmings the ingredients that make up a classic mirepoix or as the Italians call it soffritto. This includes roughly chopped onion, carrot and celery, and sometimes the white of leeks. 

I chuck everything onto a large roasting tray along with a couple of garlic cloves, tomato puree, sunflower oil and some aromatic herbs like fresh rosemary and fresh thyme. Before placing into a hot oven I make sure the vegetables are evenly coated with the oil by getting my hands in and lightly massaging. Your vegetables need to roast until almost burnt and by the end they should be dark brown in colour and nicely caramelised. If you don’t fully char the vegetables the sugar in your carrots and onions for example will make your final sauce too syrupy. Not good. To ensure even colouring you should remove from the oven and stir occasionally during the cooking process.  

The next stage is to transfer your roasted vegetables into a clean sauce pan and cover with water. Anything left stuck to the roasting tin can be deglaced with either red or white wine. Once released you can then strain the liquor into your stock leaving behind any sediment in the sieve. Now you want to simmer gently for the next 40 minutes to an hour then strain and discard all the vegetables so that you are left with a clear dark brown liquid.
To further enhance the flavour this liquid should now be reduced to half the original quantity. When it’s finished reducing, you have too. 

For storage I like to freeze the stock in ice cube trays, then when they are frozen I can knock them all out into a freezer bag and they are ready and waiting for whenever I need to drop a bomb.

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