Monday, February 8, 2010

Homemade Bouillon

One of the drawbacks of following a near all-vegetarian diet these days is the lack of a good chicken or beef stock replacement. Vegetable stock in a carton is decent, but cumbersome and expensive. Purchased vegetable bouillon is often not particularly good and filled with weird-sounding preservatives and MSG. I've tried making my own vegetable stock by boiling a variety of vegetables. I even tried slow-cooking a veggie stock once (it was ok, but not great.) Then I found this recipe on the 101 Cookbooks website. The original recipe was inspired by The River Cottage Preserves Handbook by Pam Corbin.

Homemade bouillon is incredibly easy to make. Basically you just blend together a bunch of vegetables with a decent amount of salt. I used what I had on hand (leeks, fennel, carrots, sun-dried tomatoes, onion, garlic, parsley and cilantro), but you could probably add whatever vegetables you like depending on your flavor profile. The end product was a rich, vibrant paste of flavor that seriously enhances just about any dish requiring "broth." I've made soups and sauces with the stuff and it improves everything at least 10-fold. Dare I say that a spoonful of this homemade vegetable bouillon will top most purchased meat-based stocks?


Yes, it's true. I suppose it doesn't quite stack up to a good homemade chicken stock, but considering veggie bouillon takes all of 5 minutes to make (vs hours of simmering a decent meat stock) I'm more likely to keep the veggie stuff around for just about any quick (and delicious!) meal.


p.s. Vegetable bouillon also freezes very easily!

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