Spring Vegetable Broth

Source: Cate Conniff, author of Seasons in the Wine Country: Recipes from The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (Chronicle, 2010)

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This delicate vegetable broth has a sense of spring tonic: light, refreshing, nutritious, and cleansing to the palate. I find most commercial vegetable stocks somewhat bitter and oddly orange, so for me, making this broth is well worth the effort, especially because it will be the foundation for soups and many other dishes. You can easily double the recipe and then freeze what you don’t use.

Makes about 6 cups

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion (about 8 ounces), peeled and roughly diced
2 carrots (about 4 ounces), peeled and roughly diced
2 celery stalks (about 4 ounces), roughly diced
1 fennel bulb (about 12 ounces), trimmed, cored, and roughly diced
1 leek (about 6 ounces), white and light green parts only, cleaned and cut into ½-inch slices
2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 peppercorns
6 coriander seeds (optional)
6 fennel seeds (optional)
1 teaspoon salt, or as needed
2 quarts water

PREPARATION

1. In a large soup or stockpot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add all of the ingredients except the water and cook, partially covered and stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened but are not browned, about 10 minutes.

2. Add the water, increase the heat to high, and bring the broth to a simmer. Reduce the heat so that the liquid is simmering slowly. Partially cover and continue to simmer until the broth has taken on a light color and sweet vegetable flavor, about 40 minutes.

3. Strain the broth and discard the vegetables. Allow the broth to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate or freeze.

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