About this recipe:This light stock is suitable for vegetarian dishes and for fish, poultry or meat recipes when a delicate flavour is required.
1 tbsp sunflower oil
225 g (8 oz) leeks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large bay leaf
several sprigs of fresh thyme
several sprigs of parsley, stalks bruised
225 g (8 oz) carrots, diced
3 large celery sticks with any leaves, diced
½ tsp salt
5 black peppercorns
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Method Prep:15min › Cook:1hr › Ready in:1hr15min
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan or stockpot. Add the leeks and onion, stir well and reduce the heat to low. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and leave the vegetables to sweat for about 20 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally but without lifting the lid.
Add the bay leaf, thyme, parsley, carrots, celery and salt. Pour in 2 litres (3 ½ pints) cold water and increase the heat to high. Bring slowly to the boil, skimming the surface of the liquid to remove any scum.
As soon as the water boils and all the scum has been removed, add the peppercorns and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 35 minutes.
Strain the stock into a large, heatproof bowl and set it aside to cool. Use at once or cool and then chill until required.
Because this stock is mild and has a light flavour, it works well when used as a cooking liquid for rice and pasta and adds useful nutrients to the meal.
Home-made stocks, such as this one, contain some calories (approximately 33 kcal per pint) and a small amount of fat (3–4 g per 500 ml/1 pint), but also contribute beneficial nutrients.