At home, I make my own chicken stock, beef stock, and shrimp stock. I pour the strained, reduced stock into ice cube trays and freeze.
At work, I started making shrimp stock on a regular basis several months ago, as I needed it for some sauces, and my Sous Chef would always use it for whatever he needs. I've now taken to making veggie stock, a couple gallons at a time. I've been using it as a "universal" flavor base for all sorts of soups and sauces. If I need au jus in a hurry, I bring some of this veggie stock up to a boil, add some some beef base, and a little minced fresh rosemary. Chicken-flavored soups and sauces will get veggie stock, chicken base, and maybe some sage.
Larry, I find that caramelizing the veggies before adding the liquids helps with the flavor immensely. Since I'm using about 10 - 15 lbs of veggies, and I'm not using the tilt skillet to do this, I start by caramelizing just a fraction of the veggies. I cook them until they are deeply caramelized, and there is a LOT of fond in the pan. Dump in the remainder of the veggies, hit it with some white wine (about a cup), then water to cover, and maybe enough to go 3 - 4" over the veggies. I use classic mirepoix, some whole garlic cloves, and if I have them, a leek, roughly chopped. If I'm making the veggie stock, I'm not adverse to adding tomato scraps, asparagus scraps, broccoli scraps, squash scraps, etc. I usually do not use bell peppers in stock, as they add a bitter taste.
I find that just by caramelizing, the resulting stock tastes great, once it's seasoned with some salt. The smell is intoxicating.
I've also noticed that in the past 6 months, I've become the de facto Saucier at work. My Chef is alway coming up to me and asking me to make sauces for parties, as well as the sauces I need on my line.
Peace, Love, and Vegetable Rights!
Eat Meat and Save the Plants!