Diane Morgan's recipe for roasted root vegetable stock shows the magic and versatility of the simple rutabaga, turnip and carrot. This post does not contain affiliate links.
April is a food season unto itself.
While my Instagram feed lit up with pictures of asparagus dishes on March 20, I knew the season of green spears would still be a long time coming in these parts. So these early spring days are the season of eating the entire contents of my chest freezer and my winter vegetable storage bins.
April is a time to bear down on all those tomatoes I roasted and froze last fall, the herbs I stored, and my winter CSA root vegetables that I took my time eating. That’s because once I see the first bunch of asparagus roll off the packing line at Thwaites’ farm down the road, I’m unable to stomach another squash, rutabaga or frozen veg until October, thank you.
Good news is I’m making short work of the straggler root vegetables with one of my favourite stock recipes.
I know there are those who swear by saving up all their vegetable scraps to make a pot of stock but I’m not one of them. For a really good broth, there are proportions and ratios to consider; things that make for good flavour.
When I leaf through my cookbooks, virtually all of them have a vegetable stock recipe with measured amounts of vegetables and herbs. They don’t require precision in cooking time but they do consider what goes in and what comes out.
Tony de Luca’s beauty, given a colour and flavour burst with tomatoes, comes to mind. Ditto for Laura Wright’s golden stock, made up of the usual suspects we almost always have on hand, but which are thoughtfully curated for a most satisfying stock. Both show that broth is more than boiling the you-know-what out of a bunch of random vegetables scraps.
Root Vegetables Ready for Roasting to Make Stock.
This winter, I found a vegetable broth recipe that checks all the proverbial boxes in a cookbook I plundered from my mom. It’s Diane Morgan’s roasted root vegetable stock from her tome Roots: The Definitive Compendium with more than 225 Recipes.
There’s no hyperbole in that title. This book is thorough in its instructions for making root vegetables the show stealers they deserve to be. It goes beyond the taps and tubers that get all the attention in this corner of the world. So while there are chapters devoted to veg drawer stalwarts like beets and carrots, there are also sections dedicated to burdock, crosnes (Chinese artichoke), galangal and lotus root.
I adore this book. Lucky for me, I managed to work out a trade with my mom so I could have it in my collection.
The roasted root vegetable stock alone makes it a keeper. It turns turnip, rutabaga, carrots and onion into a rich broth thanks to their time in the oven before going into the stock pot. The result is a liquid with a deep caramel colour and flavour with gorgeous body.
Even better, those are some of the least expensive vegetables in the grocery store at any time of year, so this is one economical kitchen basic to have in the repertoire.
Sure you can use the results in any recipe that calls for stock. I drink mine, a cup a day, for the comfort and the nutrition it offers. And for how quickly it’s paving the way to guilt-free asparagus consumption in about five week’s time.
Roasted Root Vegetable Stock
This stock is a brilliant use of some under-rated root vegetables that are also among the most inexpensive to buy in the grocery store. Use it in any recipe calling for broth or drink it a cup at a time like I do for some deep nutrition and comfort. Thanks so much to Diane Morgan for letting me share this recipe. Reprinted with permission from the author from Roots: The Definitive Compendium with more than 225 Recipes, copyright 2010, Chronicle Books.
- 1 pound/454 grams rutabaga, ends trimmed, peeled and cut into 1-inch/2.5-cm chunks
- 1 pound/454 grams purple-topped turnips, ends trimmed, peeled and cut into 1-inch/2.5-cm chunks
- 1 pound/454 grams carrots, trimmed, peeled and cutin into 1-inch/2.5-cm chunks
- 1 pound/454 grams yellow onions, cut into 1-inch/2.5-cm chunks
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 fresh thyme sprigs
- 8 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
- 1 large bay leaf
- 12 peppercorns
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°F/220°C/gas 7. Have ready two large-rimmed baking sheets lined.
In a large bowl, toss the rutabagas, turnips, carrots and onions with the olive oil. Divide the vegetables evenly between the two baking sheets, spreading them in a single layer. Roast, turning the vegetables once or twice with a spatula, until caramelized at the edges, 35-45 minutes.
Transfer the vegetables to a large soup pot. Add the thyme, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns and enough cold water to cover the vegetables by 2 inches/5 centimetres. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Using a large spoon or soup skimmer, skim off any brown foam that rises to the top. Cover partially, reduce the heat so the stock barely simmers and cook for one hour.
Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, transfer the vegetables and herbs to a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl to catch all the juices. Discard the solids. Pour the stock through the sieve into the bowl. Let cool. (To cool quickly, set the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice water.) Stir the stock occasionally to help cool it down.
Use immediately or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
by Tiffany Mayer
If you're not sure what to do with those leftover vegetables once the stock is made, I boiled my same batch of vegetables twice and got lots of flavour the second time around.