Our family is about 2 weeks into our Vegetarianism for Lent project and so far, so good. I actually have more energy, feel better and enjoying food in a brand new way. I haven’t craved any meat or seafood yet, and actually the big test was this past weekend when a good friend’s husband smoked some pork barbecue on Saturday. I love pork barbecue and her husband is a real pro. But as good as it smelled, I didn’t lament having vegetarian black bean soup. Perhaps it is knowing that after Lent I can be more lenient, but I do think this vegetarian experiment is helping me realize how good the right foods can make you feel.
It is still cold outside, so I have been doing a slew of healthy vegetarian soups for dinner. But I quickly realized the first time I made a soup during Lent that while I purchased all the right vegetarian ingredients for the main substance of the soup, the only broth I had on hand was chicken or beef.
Enter this recipe. I found many versions of homemade vegetable broth, but this recipe is a combination of many ideas into one that worked really well for us. I love this broth. It is flavorful, yet neutral and balanced enough as to not overpower the soup with one distinct vegetable flavor. It tastes so good and is so easy to make, I challenge even you carnivore out there to give it a try.
Vegetable Broth (makes 2 quarts)
8 cups water
1 red (or yellow) onion, quartered
3 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
3 celery stalks, cut into 2 inch pieces
¼ cup dried mushrooms (or ½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons soy sauce
12 whole peppercorns (or ½ teaspoon ground pepper)
salt to taste
Pour all ingredients into large stock pot.
Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer 30 minutes or up to an hour. Strain out all ingredients and reserve remaining broth.
Use as any broth to replace chicken or beef broth in a recipe.
If you don’t need 2 quarts for your recipe, this broth can easily be frozen for future use. Using muffin trays to measure out ½ cup portions works well…freeze in the tray and then pop out the “muffins” of broth into a freezer bag for future use.