In 2006, no-knead bread zoomed from blog to blog and oven to oven. Will the same happen in 2010?
Thanks to the always-innovative Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks and author of Super Natural Cooking: Five Delicious Ways to Incorporate Whole and Natural Foods into Your Cooking, I predict -- and dream! -- that all of us will dump those dusty cubes of bouillon straight-away into the rubbish because now we have something even better, bouillon made at home, fresh, convenient, frugal. Let's make this recipe for homemade bouillon the "recipe that flew across the world" in 2010!
(Word dancing: and yes, the word is spelled bouillON, not bullion or boolion or my own fumble-fingered spelling, bouillion. The word is pronounced [bool-yon] or [bool-yuhn] or in the native French, [boo-yawn].)
- TASTE Imagine the very best vegetable stock you can imagine, fresh, lively, delicious.
- CONVENIENCE Make it once, then it keeps in the freezer. Use it a teaspoon or a tablespoon at a time.
- ADAPTABILITY It's impossible not to imagine variations of this stock, with hints of Thai or Mexican or Italian flavors, say.
- COST When we buy bouillon, we're paying premium dollars for what's essentially water (if we buy in cans) and salt (both cans and cubes and pastes). When I wrote the series of posts about How to Save Money on Groceries, I admonished, Don't buy water and don't buy salt. Here's one more way to avoid those expenses.
I adapted Heidi's recipe in two ways, first by figuring out how many leeks, carrots and other vegetables are needed to make the Homemade Vegetable Bouillon -- and then I used the trimmings and the leftovers vegetables to make a quick stock. So absolutely nothing went to waste! Last night I took a jar to a party as a hostess gift (she's a cook, she'll 'get it') and today I used it to make a big pot of broccoli soup.
Verdict: This stuff is fabulous and soon all of us will have Heidi to thank. Please note, Heidi credits the recipe to Pam Corbin, author of Preserves: River Cottage Handbook No.2, who tucked this kitchen-transforming recipe into a last chapter along with other odds and ends that fit nowhere else. I'm off to check my own cookbook collection, what goodies are in those 'other' chapters?
"I made this and it's very handy to have and I love that it's all fresh ingredients." ~ BellePlaine
"Love love LOVE this stuff." ~ Anonymous
HOMEMADE VEGETABLE BOUILLON RECIPE
Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Time to table: 35 minutes
Makes about 3-1/2 cups
5 ounces (150 grams) leeks, white and light-green parts only (from 3 leeks, how to clean leeks)
7 ounces (200 grams) fennel bulb, chopped (from about 1 - 2 bulbs of fennel weighing about 3/4 pound)
7 ounces (200 grams) carrot, chopped (from about 4 large carrots)
3.5 ounces (100 grams) celery, chopped (from about 2 large ribs of celery)
3.5 ounces (100 grams) celery root (also called celeriac, from about one large bulb weighing about 8 ounces)
1 ounce (30 grams) sun-dried tomatoes
3.5 ounces (100 grams) shallot, peeled (from about 2 large shallots weighing 5 to 6 ounces)
3 medium garlic cloves
9 ounces (250 grams) kosher salt (about 1 cup)
1.5 ounces (40 grams) parsley (1 big bunch)
2 ounces (60 grams) cilantro (1/2 big bunch
In a food processor, process all the ingredients, pulsing until a small, rough chop forms. Depending on the size of your food processor, you might need to process two or three vegetables at a time, even individually. No problem, just process each one and transfer to a mixing bowl and stir together. Once all the vegetables are processed once and stirred together, return to the food processor, in batches if needed, and process until a thick wet paste forms but individual bits of vegetables remain distinct. Transfer to very clean storage containers and freeze. Because of the salt, the bouillon will be very easy to scoop out a spoonful at a time.
To use, mix 1 teaspoon Homemade Vegetable Bouillon with 1 cup water.
TO MAKE VEGETABLE STOCK from the SCRAPS Before starting, get out a large pot or a Dutch oven to collect leftover vegetables to make a fresh vegetable stock and collect them while trimming the vegetables. Do NOT use the rough edges, root ends, etc, that get trimmed off, discard or compost these but everything else is fair game, including any leftover vegetable pieces plus the green leaves of the leeks and the shallot skins. Add a bay leaf, a few peppercorns and water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes. Strain and the stock within two or three days, it also freezes well.
This recipe does rely on both a food processor and a scale. If you don't have a kitchen scale, then today's the last day to enter to win one over at How to Lose Weight with Weight Watchers. That said, I suspect that this recipe is quite forgiving. The trick will be to keep the proportion of salt and vegetables roughly the same.
Wash all the vegetables very, very well so there's no contamination that gets into the Homemade Vegetable Bouillon
Buy more vegetables than you think are needed, to allow for trimming and also for imperfections in the vegetables. Because of the long storage time, even in the freezer, you really do want to use pretty much perfect vegetables.
Sun-dried tomatoes are hard-to-find and expensive in St. Louis. So a trick I use is to pick up just a handful from the olive bar. They're expensive by the pound but I only need a few and so nothing goes to waste.
When I bought the vegetables for this stock, it never occurred to me to check to see if I had enough salt on hand. This uses a lot of salt, check your pantry!
Celeriac can be hard to find, too, also expensive. Another time I'd substitute more of the inexpensive celery.
Choose flat-leafed Italian parsley or curly parsley? Until recently, I'd have opted for Italian parsley for 'more flavor'. But I read somewhere that curly parsley has more flavor especially when it's a little less fresh. For my first batch of bouillon, I used curly parsley. If you have enough, opt for mostly leaves, leaving the somewhat tougher stems for the stockpot.
The leaves and stems of the cilantro are both tender and can be used.
~ Light Vegetable Stock ~
~ No-Waste Leek Stock ~
~ more vegetable stock recipes ~