- 1/4 cup (60 g) unsalted butter
- 5 onions, chopped
- 2 leeks, white part only, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 4 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
- 6–8 dried mushrooms, such as porcini
- 1 small bunch fresh parsley
- 1 sprig fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- pinch of mace or nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)
- 1 fresh red chilli, halved and seeded (optional); wear gloves when handling – they burn
- In a stockpot or very large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, leeks and garlic and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, until the onions are golden. Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms, parsley, thyme, salt, allspice, mace or nutmeg and 16 cups (4 litres) cold water.
- Bring the mixture slowly to a boil, using a slotted spoon to skim off any fat or scum that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat, partly cover the pot, then simmer gently for 2 hours, adding more water as needed to maintain the level at about 12 cups (3 litres). Add the vinegar and chilli, if using, then simmer for 30 minutes longer.
- Line a fine sieve with muslin (cheesecloth) and set it over a large bowl. Slowly pour the stock through the sieve, gently pressing with a wooden spoon to squeeze all the liquid from the solids; discard the solids and the chilli. If desired, clarify the stock. If a thicker stock is desired, do not discard the solids after straining; purée about 1/2 cup of the cooked vegetables and stir the purée back into the stock. Let the stock cool to room temperature. Pour the stock into serving-sized, airtight containers; cover, label and date. Store in the refrigerator for 1 week, or freeze for up to 6 months.