Vegetable stock is so easy and inexpensive. Really. There's no excuse to ever, ever buy it in store ever again. You'll be able to avoid unnecessary preservatives and those awful tetrapaks. I use it in soups, enchilada sauce, risotto, pastas, dog treats and really almost everything. If you want to amp up rice, cook it in stock instead of water. It takes the dish from OK to amazing.
Also, before we go any further, I just want to get one thing straight:
Broth: Seasoned (salt, pepper, herbs, etc.)
I don't like to season mine; because, I like to keep my options open. Now, that we have that settled. Let's continue.
Most regional cuisines are based on three very key ingredients. Carrots, onions, and celery are the base of the mirepoix which is commonly found in both French and Southern cuisines. The Italians have a soffrito which is a mix of tomatoes, garlic, and onion. And, in New Orleans they have the holy trinity of celery, onion, and green bell pepper. Depending on what you like to cook you can add any of these ingredients to your broth.
You want to steer clear of the cruciferous family. They can impart a very bitter flavor to your broth. Potatoes are not cruciferous, but they will make your broth very cloudy, and don't impart much flavor.
As you're prepping meals through out the week, you can cut off the odds and ends of onions, carrots, garlic peels and throw them all in a bowl in the freezer. Once it starts to fill up, you can use it to make stock!
Roughly chop and wash your vegetables. You want to make sure you remove any dirt. Dump all of your veggie bits in a pot big enough to hold all of them. Cover them with water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Put on the lid and walk away.
That's it! So, easy right!?
Now, you can let this simmer for an hour - two for a light flavor. But, I like mine to get very condensed and rich. I let it simmer for approximately six hours. I store mine in the freezer, so I always have it on hand.
I made 15 cups of stock for $3.00! That much organic stock in store would cost me $21.50.