You can absolutely make homemade bouillon. And I know you can thanks to Pam Corbin. Pam wrote the beautiful River Cottage Preserves Handbook. * At the very back of this exquisite little book, long after the rhubarb relish and way beyond the piccalilli and winter fruit compote, she suggests a simple idea: make your own bouillon. I'm not sure why this never crossed my mind, but by the time I got to page 207 it wasn't. She outlines a list of ingredients that are mashed into a concentrated paste made from vegetables and herbs that have been preserved with salt. I've cooked on one version of it all week and it's infinitely better than any canned vegetable broth I've tried. And the best part about it? You can build on the general idea and customize it based on the time of year and my personal preferences – which I did too.
What is bouillon?
Technically, a stock cube is a dehydrated cube or powder that is used to make instant vegetable broth. Pam calls her version "Souper Mix" … but you use it in a similar way to stock cubes. It is used to make quick, aromatic broth. For example when cooking soups, risottos, curries, whatever really.
The main thing? Remember, bouillon is quite salty and very concentrated. I mention in the recipe that I used 1 teaspoon per 1 cup of water / liquid to get started. You can customize from there depending on what you're doing and what personal preferences you have. And as for the variations, this first batch was mostly made with ingredients from my fridge, but I'm really excited to try other versions with different herbs and ratios of the basic ingredients. In fact, if you have any suggestions or ideas, call the comments – I'd love to hear them!
More bouillon variations
Some of your variations caught my attention so I thought I'd highlight a few here. Love this!
- Karen "tried a variation with local ingredients: carrot, long onion (like a leek), daikon radish, Japanese wild parsley, salt and 7 pepper mixture. Added a bit of soy sauce for more salt and flavor. Then I used it, to make red lentil soup. WOW! The soup has never tasted so good !!! "
- Dominican Foodie liked the texture of the version she noted, "I made a few changes to your recipe. I doubled the ingredients (other than salt and tomatoes). Added extra garlic and white onions, juiced the first half (set aside) Put the second half in olive oil and roast for two hours, then toss everything in a large deep saucepan, add the bay leaves and simmer until the liquid is halved. Take out the bay leaves, put a hand blender in the saucepan and smooth everything into a paste. Perfection! "
* The US edition of the River Cottage Preserves Handbook is now available.
There is a whole directory of great soup recipes to use your bouillon in!