Claire's Vegetable Stock from Drums of Autumn

Claire's Vegetable Stock from DOA

"When you make bashed neeps," I said, "be sure to boil the tops along with the turnips.  Then save the pot liquor and give it to the children; you take some too -- it's good for your milk." 

Maisri Buchanan pressed her smallest child to her breast and nodded solemnly, committing my advice to memory.  I could not persuade most of the new immigrants either to eat fresh greens or to feed them to their families, but now and then I found opportunity to introduce a bit of vitamin C surreptitiously into their usual diet -- which consisted for the most part of Drums of Autumn (Chapter 70 - The Gathering)

As usual, Claire's heart and medical advice are in the right place.  But I'm hardly going to boil up turnip greens, ladle the resulting liquid into a bowl and convince you to call it dinner, now am I?  Mmmmm, pot liquor....

Instead, we have a rich, yet light-tasting 21st Century vegetable stock made from vitamin-packed, commonly found vegetables, a few aromatics and some secret ingredients that are all about boosting colour and flavour.

If you don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen, then this recipe is for you.  Store-bought stocks may seem like a great way to save time, but most brands, even some of the organic ones, are full of additives and salt.  And while a classically prepared meat or poultry stock (like Mrs. Fitz's Chicken Broth) takes a few hours, a vegetable one is ready in less than 45 minutes.


Some vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, turnip and bell peppers don't belong in your stock because of their strong or bitter flavour.  For obvious reasons, avoid beets altogether. Carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes and leek greens also darken a stock; using too many may cause the finished product to be overly green or orange. Lastly, avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes and yams, as they'll make your stock cloudy.

Have you heard of Umami?  A buzzword for flavour from the Japanese, it translates imperfectly as savoury, earthy, meaty, mouth-feel, or, my favourite, enchanted taste.  Whatever you want to call it, you want as much of it as you can get, to add depth and richness to your dishes. To introduce more umami into your stock, add a sun-dried tomato, a small piece of kombu (dried kelp) and/or a dried mushroom to the peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme and parsley stems in your bouquet garni.

To mimic the amber hue of a rich brown meat stock, add an onion brûlé (burnt onion) to the stock after the water has boiled and been reduced a stable simmer. To prepare it, char half an onion, still in it's skin, on a hot dry griddle or heavy frying pan.


Three quarts may seem like a lot.  But besides the obvious use as a base for the lighter soups and stews of spring, vegetable stock makes an extra-special poaching liquid for veggies or fish, a flavourful start to a barley risotto, or the perfect addition to a spinach puree like the one you see above.

To make this fast and seriously delicious plate, I briefly steamed a bunch of spinach in some vegetable stock, pureed it with a little cream, seasoned  with salt, pepper & nutmeg, and served it under scallops seared on a hot, dry pan and garlic bread.  Add a few pine nuts for crunch, and ring the've got dinner!

Show/Hide Comments


11 Jun 2012 - 2:06pm


Pot liquor and cornbread is a wonderful dinner. Very simple and very earthy. The stock sounds divine. I love Outlander Kitchen!!


Mandy -- I will try that the next time I boil up some turnips...I'm trusting you here. :) Thanks for stopping by!

Molly McKee-Freeman

I have eaten this many times! My Granny cooked these kind of foods and I love them

11 Jun 2012 - 2:59pm

Ms. Aaron Brown

I just got a lot of veggies in my Co-op basket this week! What a great idea!!

11 Jun 2012 - 3:07pm


I've been making Mrs. Fitz's chicken stock since February, but now I'll make the veggie stock for summer. Thanks Outlander Kitchen! I can't wait for the cookbook!

11 Jun 2012 - 4:22pm

Lindsey K.

Thanks for all the tips on how to use stock besides as a base for soup. For those of us with basically no culinary imagination whatsoever, all the suggestions for multiple uses, freezing and reheating, and what to serve with these dishes at mealtime are extremely helpful.


You're verra welcome, Lindsey! It's also delicious to use in place of plain water when you're cooking rice.

11 Jun 2012 - 4:59pm


The line "If you don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen, then this recipe is for you" is music to my ears. I love being able to incorporate Outlander into my family's meals. Thank you!


Thanks for being a great Fan from the beginning, Fan! theresa

11 Jun 2012 - 7:11pm

Anita Boelke

will try the veggie stock tomorrow....wonderful recipe...I'm waiting for the Outlander Kitchen

13 Jun 2012 - 12:10am


Yummy. Love that blackened onion skin idea - I'm sure it can be used in other recipes?


Anywhere you want a little extra colour, Deniz!

14 Jun 2012 - 12:47pm


Oh, such a wonderful blog and recipe! Thank you for sharing such a healthy staple. It's only 7:30 AM, and I'm already wishing I could forgo work and spend the day in the kitchen. I hope you have a wonderful end to your week!

12 Jul 2012 - 5:48pm


Hi! Great recipe :) Do you think I can use Bouquet Garni from the store to do the stock? Thanks!

05 Sep 2012 - 4:33am

Bangers & Mas…

Chicken or Vegetable Stock 2

02 Oct 2012 - 7:29pm

Murphys Beef …

with my recipes for Chicken Stock and Vegetable Stock, youll notice that salt is missing from the list. NEVER SALT A STOCK. When you use your

30 Sep 2014 - 5:49am

Juanita Pardun

Worked with Renaissance Fair as cook. During day a variety of vegetables were prepared for eating. At night took leftovers, covered with water and simmered hours for supper. Surprised how radishes will simply disappear in the soup.

22 Oct 2014 - 4:44pm


I can't wait to make this veggie stock. I do have a question. I did not see fennel in the list of ingredients but it is mentioned in the directions. To clarify, use fennel or not ? I have made many of these recipes and every one has been delicious. I love this page !!


Oops! Thanks for pointing that out...I`ve edited the recipe to include fennel stalks.

24 Oct 2014 - 8:51am


This sounds wonderful!! What's the best way to freeze this? Thanks!!

25 Oct 2014 - 12:42am


First time viewer here. Can't wait to try this recipe. Thanks

24 Nov 2014 - 3:01pm

Roasted Peppe…

Vegetable Stock 2 to 3 Cups

01 Jan 2015 - 10:30pm


Thank you thank you thank you. I have been looking for this recipe for 2 years. I used to make this stock for a friend with cancer for her to sip on when she couldn't eat and I gave her the recipe and pot when she moved away. Now I unfortunately need it for grandma. Thank you thank you thank you.

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