Harvest time vegetable stock

I’m a carnivore by nature. I’d have meat for dessert if only I could find a good recipe for pork flavored ice cream. But if a vegan were suddenly elected King and passed a decree that allowed flesh eating only if blood thirsty carnivores slaughter, skin and clean the carcasses for their meals themselves – well then you could start calling me a vegetarian and the core of my diet would be this harvest vegetable stock.

But even without the vegan monarchy, I still love making and eating this soup. And like so many of my recipes this one is wide open to interpretation. So if you have some beautiful zucchinis growing in your garden or if there is a rush on collard greens at your neighborhood supermarket it’s cool to play around. Gardner’s like me who plant way too many plants of veggies that somehow all manage to ripen within three minutes of each other are really going to love this recipe. You see not only does is use up a lot of excess growth, but this stock serves as a base for all kinds of variations on vegetable soups from tomato to potato and bean. So go ahead and give it a try, you may just release your inner herbivore.


  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 4 leeks, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, pealed and crushed (roughly 10 – 12 cloves)
  • 3 to 5Tbls olive oil (vegetable or canola oil can be substituted)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 head collard greens, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • a small bunch of cilantro, stems okay
  • 1 stalk lemon grass, crushed
  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • 6 cups water
  • pepper


  • the largest Dutch oven that you can find
  • large bowl
  • strainer


  1. Place the celery, carrots, onions, leeks, shallots, and garlic into the Dutch oven and toss with olive oil. Set over a medium low heat and stir until the onions begin to caramelize. This should take five to ten minutes.
  2. Add two cups of water cover and simmer for another twenty minutes.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and simmer on low for anywhere from thirty minutes to six hours. The longer you let it simmer the better the stock will taste.
  4. Let cool and then strain into a large bowl. Toss the mushy veggies and save that glorious stock. Pepper to taste.

What you should know

This stock is an excellent base. I use this to make tomato soup, potato tomato soup and chickpea soup to name but a few. And sometime I just toss a few fresh vegetables like chopped carrots and potatoes simmer and serve. No mater how you go it’s guaranteed yummy.

Um hello, should I simmer a half hour or six? The answer lies in how much time you have. If you can let it simmer for longer the flavor gets better and better. But if you only have limited time and half hour will suffice.

What no salt? That’s because this is a base. If you leave out the salt now, you give yourself flexibility later. As a general rule of thumb I always wait to salt soups until they are ready to serve. The few times I have rushed and broken that rule, the soup ended up too salty thanks to evaporation.

This stock should last up to a week in the refrigerator and can last up to three months in the freezer.

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