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Old 10-30-2010, 05:27 PM   #1
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Can we discuss vegetarian broths or stocks?

Cooks illustrated did a rating of the best vegetable broth (canned or boxed).... and the reviews of most were HORRIBLE.

I've had the same problem in finding one I like... swansons vegetarian broth (the Cook's Illustrated winner, btw) is not too bad. Unfortunately, it does include MSG and high fructose corn syrup, with some other hard-to-pronouce ingredients.
It also has a distinct taste that doesnt really work in all recipes. Say, you want to make egg drop soup... the swansons vegetarian broth would be wierd in it.

I DO like Pacific Organics Mushroom stock... or using dried porcini's (or other dried mushroom) soaked in boiling water to make a mushroom stock. Again this works beautifully for some recipes (like this one, where I used it mushroom bourguignon | smitten kitchen) but obviously not all.

A lot of my recipes for soups and stews would be easily all vegetarian if it weren't for the stock I use. But I have never been able to make homemade vegetable stock... the "throw in veggie scraps" has never worked for me.

Anyone have some good recs for either purchased broths or homemade recipes?
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Old 10-30-2010, 05:50 PM   #2
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I generally just use water instead of a broth in recipes .. but of course, they are not soup recipes, lol!!!! When I do use something, it is Knorr vegetarian bouillon .. probably because its just been around for the 30 years I've not eaten meat, lol!!!!

I am not someone who uses recipes or cookbooks a lot .. "fly by the seat of yer pants cooking" is more my style .. but Strawberry have you ever considered maybe using some Miso??! I know it comes in various varieties, flavors and sweetness, and from my short dalliance with it maybe 20 years ago? (lol!) I recall it can give that depth of flavor a broth should give ...

Not too helpful I know! lol!! But maybe a google of miso broth would bring up something worth trying out .. and maybe just trying a dash with the porcini mushrooms for a dark veg broth. Other weird things to consider that come to mind: nutritional yeast and vegemite .. have you looked in your vegetarian cookbooks yet? I have a bunch I could check, but maybe those are the type of recipes that haven't worked for you in the past?



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Old 10-30-2010, 06:22 PM   #3
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well... um... I actually dont own a single cookbook!

The only books I have are all the books from years of school, and a handful of "other".....

I had read online about just saving up scraps of vegetables and tossing it in a pot with lightly salted water - but that didn't work at all. And I've tried several times using nice fresh vegetables, but again no success. Each time I sorta salvaged it by adding tomato juice, but then I tested actually just adding tomato jucie to salted water, and it almost tastes the same

I can't say I've ever technically followed a recipe (one might argue THAT is my problem.
I'd like to have a nice broth even for just sipping warm during winter.
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Old 10-30-2010, 06:41 PM   #4
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Here I come with the Vegan Yum Yum links again...but I really like her recipes!

VeganYumYum » Homemade Vegetable Broth

I think the key would be adding the tamari soy sauce. I bet it really brings out the flavors.
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Old 10-30-2010, 06:53 PM   #5
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have you tried the Better Than Bouillon pastes in jars? I haven't checked for meat ingredients in ones like mushroom, but I think they are better than the cubes and WAY better than the canned and boxed ones.

if I had to use vegetarian stock, which I don't since I am a recovered vegetarian, I would probably use water with salt and garlic and not even try to do a vegetable base. mostly they don't taste great, even when made fresh.
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Old 10-30-2010, 07:22 PM   #6
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I think most vegetarian stock is missing the umami.

Umami - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That is why the highest scoring store bought stocks included MSG...glutamates give things umami.

Soy sauce and tomato paste added to the stock would help to add natural glutamates.
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Old 10-31-2010, 06:05 AM   #7
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I looked up broth making in my vegetarian cookbooks last night for you Strawberry .. and everything I came up with was just like Toomuchbooty's link to the VeganYumYum! And I think the description of making a mirepoix is exactly the kind of flavoring I would want in my own broth!!!

I agree with Toomuchbooty on the Tamari! That would be the same flavor a miso would give -- that depth of flavor often missing in the vegetarian broths!!!

A couple of other things you may not know if you have relied on the products and not really delved into making vegetarian broths from recipes:

1. It is common to use peelings of vegetables in broths - which you strain out afterward, or you could wrap in cheesecloth as it cooks - so any carrot ends, onion halves, etc. It's the kind of thing where you can keep a container in the freezer and throw appropriate veggie scraps in there for later use in your stock ... Lol! I do remember doing that in my more adventurous cooking days.

2. According to the Sundays at the Moosewood Restaurant cookbook (page 685), we must never use cruciferous vegetables in a vegetarian stock: broccoli, cauli, turnip, cabbage, rutabaga, kohlrabi.

3. Also no vegetables that bleed color unless you want that color soup: beets, red cabbage, and greens.

4. Eggplant and green peppers will make the stock bitter.

5. Use caution when adding acidic fruits or vegetables like tomatoes, as they can curdle dairy ingredients used to make the soup.

6. The cookbook lists the best vegetables for use as: carrots, peeled onions, parsley, sweet potatoes and squash as well as the high carb: parsnips and white potatoes.
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Old 11-05-2010, 03:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaDa! View Post

6. The cookbook lists the best vegetables for use as: carrots, peeled onions, parsley, sweet potatoes and squash as well as the high carb: parsnips and white potatoes.
yes, we are warned not to use onion skins as well.

mushrooms have a lot of umami (natural glutamates.) dried porcinis are the best!
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Old 11-13-2010, 10:04 AM   #9
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I stumbled across this recipe just now and was reminded of this thread. From Martha Stewart:

Mushroom Stock
Makes about 5 cups

1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, cleaned
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, cleaned
1/2 large carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 celery root, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
3 shallots, peeled and cut into thirds
1 tablespoon rosemary leaves
Vegetable oil, for pan


Directions

1. Place both mushrooms, carrot, celery root, shallots, and rosemary leaves in the bowl of a food processor; process until finely chopped.
2. Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over high heat. Transfer vegetable mixture to pot and reduce heat to medium. Cook vegetables, letting them "cake" in bottom of pot, about 5 minutes.
3. Add 12 cups water to pot. Simmer for 2 hours. Strain stock and let cool.


Read more at Marthastewart.com: Mushroom Stock - Martha Stewart Recipes
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