I was amazed at how much I missed chicken stock, especially when making the soups and sauces that so often use it. I've found that store-bought vegetable stock just isn't rich enough--or, worse, it's too sweet--to be a replacement and so devised my own. Making stock is a great way to experiment--feel free to alter this recipe until you've found the variation that best suits your own tastes.

If you're making this as a substitution for beef broth, use dry red wine instead of white and add another cup of mushrooms.

Makes 8 cups.

    • 1 large carrot, chopped
    • 3 celery stalks, chopped
    • 4 leeks
    • 2 medium onions, quartered
    • 2 red bell peppers, chopped and seeded
    • 1 head of garlic
    • 3 shallots, halved
    • 2 cups crimini mushrooms
    • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
    • 2 teaspoons black pepper, preferably whole peppercorns
    • Olive oil
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 1 bay leaf

Preheat the oven for 450°F. Spread the vegetables onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle the thyme and black pepper then use a brush or your hands to lightly coat the vegetables with olive oil. Cook for 45 minutes, turning once or twice.

Transfer the roasted vegetables to a large pot. Add 12 cups water, the wine, and the bay leaf. Simmer for 45 minutes. Strain the broth, discarding the vegetables. Refrigerate for up to two days or freeze.