Makes about 4 quarts
20 to 30 minutes prep time; 1-1/2 hours stove time, mostly unattended
Keeps 4 days in the refrigerator, 6 months in the freezer
Anything you do with this broth will make you proud. Sip it by the cup for a lift; simmer it into soups, stews, pilafs, curries and sauces.
A simple technique separates this from other vegetable broths. Build deep tasting character by browning the onions, then picking up all their rich tasting glaze from the bottom of the pan by adding wine to the pan and boiling it down. That's how you create a flavor foundation like few others. A stash in the freezer is like money in the bank.
1. Heat the oil in a 12-inch sauté pan or skillet (not non-stick!) over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, celery, onions and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spatula, until the onions are a golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and basil and cook a few seconds more.
2. Add the wine and stir, scraping up any brown glaze in the pan, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer to an 8-quart stockpot. Add the romaine, tomato, nutmeg and enough water to cover the solids by 3 to 4 inches. Bring to a gentle bubble, partially cover, and simmer slowly for about 90 minutes.
3. Strain the broth into a large bowl, pressing down on the solids to extract as much flavor as possible. Cool and chill. Skim off any solidified oil from broth's surface. Refrigerate or freeze.
This story appears in Eating In with Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Issue 1, which is available as an e-book.
"The happiest people in the world interact about 7 hours a day," says Dan Buettner, author of Thrive. "They don't just wake up in the morning and schedule 7 hours of interaction. A lot of it happens to revolve around food and the rituals that surround food." Buettner circled the globe in search of the world's happiest populations -- he shares four tips with The Splendid Table.