%uFFFDNo, I’m not talking about playing the market. What I’m suggesting is actually a very safe, risk-free venture, and one that will make mealtime a lot easier. After years of feeding my growing family, I’ve learned the importance of a well-stocked pantry. One ingredient that I bet we all use frequently is stock.—
That’s where the brilliance of homemade bouillon comes into play. You don’t have to worry about freezer or fridge space to keep a ton of vegetable stock on hand. The original idea came to me from another food blogger, Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks. As she explains, this technique is basically preserving chopped up vegetables with salt—a lot of salt, but not worry because the paste is a concentrate that you dilute with boiling water. I took her cue on some of the ingredients—the sun-dried tomatoes really rounded out the flavor. While I love fennel and cilantro, I left them out because they are pretty strong and I wanted a more subtle bouillon that would result in a more universal stock, though I suspect hers would be perfect in Mexican and Asian dishes. I also decided to add some cremini mushrooms, a.k.a. baby bellas, to give it an earthy undertone.
All you need is room to store the one-quart of bouillon this recipe makes and you’ll have 48 quarts of homemade vegetable stock at your beck and call. Depending on which brand you normally buy, that’ll shave over $150 off your grocery bill in the long run. It’ll also leave you with a tastier base for soups, risottos, and more.
Homemade Vegetable Bouillon
makes one quart (4 cups)
Yes, this recipe really does need 7 ounces of salt. Remember, you’re curing the vegetables, and the salt ensures they do not go rancid. I’ve noted to use a measured teaspoon for each cup of prepared bouillon, but if you’re like me and prefer to dip in with one of your normal serving teaspoons, you will definitely need to add more water. Play around until you find the right ratio, since all silverware teaspoons are not created equal. And one last note—I have a monster Cuisinart (really, it’s 11 cups), so you may need to make this in two batches if you own a smaller food processor.
4 carrots, trimmed, scrubbed & cut into large pieces
3 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 leek, white part only, sliced
1 small onion, peeled & quartered
10 sun-dried tomato halves
1 1/2 cups cremini mushrooms (caps & stems), cleaned & quartered
2 cloves garlic
generous handful of fresh parsley, including stems
7 ounces salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it forms a wet paste and is well combined. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, or separate into smaller portions to store in the freezer. To use, combine one measured teaspoon with one cup boiling water.
–Jennifer Perillo, InJenniesKitchen.com