I always prefer using homemade stock in recipes but it’s not always practical to make or easy to store. Freezer real estate is valuable stuff and I have to be very selective about what I choose to keep; there’s just no room for bags of vegetable flavoured ice. Especially since you can get some pretty good stock powders. But even the best of powders don’t allow you to match the ingredients to your tastes or the seasons.
So I think I’ve finally found the solution – a fresh stock paste with all the space-saving convenience and instantaneity of a powder and all the freshness and individuality of homemade stock. And what’s more, it only takes a few minutes make but can be stored for up to six months without taking up the space you would otherwise be using for ice cream. Vary the vegetables and herbs as much as you like; I used fennel, leek, celery, carrots, pepper, roasted tomatoes, garlic, bay and parsley but you could also add coriander, thyme, celeriac, turnips… whatever you fancy. The result is a granular paste (don’t be put off!) that packs a real punch, perfect for all those winter soups and stews.
Fresh vegetable stock paste
Makes 3 x 220ml jars
The weights given are prepared weights – i.e., once you’ve wash, peeled and otherwise prepped your veggies.
- 100g fennel
- 100g celery
- 125g leeks
- 100g carrots
- 50g parsley
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 pepper
- 30g roasted or sun-dried tomatoes
- 125g salt
Roughly chop the vegetables so they are about the same size and blitz in a food processor until a rough paste is formed. Add the salt and process some more. The finished paste will still be bitty, not smooth, but should be pourable.
Spoon into hot, sterilised jars and seal. The paste should keep unopened in a cool, dark spot for up to 6 months. Once open store in the fridge.
To use: add one or two teaspoons to 500ml water. The paste is a little heavy on the salt which is necessary to preserve the veggies so make sure to taste your dish before adding extra seasoning.