I’ve posted April classes – quick dinners and hearty salads! We’ll use all the wonderful spring produce to make quick dishes using eggs and we’ll make creative salads with beans, grains and savory dressings for delicious one-dish dinners. Thanks to many of you for sending me feedback about what you’d most like to learn about. I hope to see you here in my kitchen the last weekend of April for one (or both!) of the classes.
I have a cheap, old digital camera and I have no photography training. And the subject of today’s post–veggie bouillon–is not photogenic. So, forgive the ugly shots and make the bouillon anyway. It’s worth it!
One of my favorite blogs is Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks. She blogged about this basic and brilliant idea of making your own bouillon paste in a matter of minutes. (And she’s an excellent photographer so look at her photos.) I taught it in a recent cooking class and sent everyone home with a jar to keep in the freezer for that last-minute risotto, soup, braise, etc. If you have a food processor, all you do is clean the appropriate veggies (carrots, onions, leeks, tomatoes, parsley . . . .) and process them until they are very finely chopped, add lots of salt, process again and spoon into a jar. Done! Nothing is cooked, sautéed, anything. I do love veggie stock but this method of processing things raw gives a wonderful fresh, bright flavor and is quick to make and easy to store and use. When you need the broth, just spoon out 2 teaspoons of bouillon per cup of water (or more or less to your taste) and use in your respective dish. I used it in a spinach and bacon risotto this weekend and it was wonderful. I’ve also been using it instead of water in soups and stews.
I adapted Heidi’s recipe which she adapted from the River Cottage Preserves Handbook.
This recipe requires a food processor. As Heidi notes you can also just make this with what you have. Onions, celery, carrots and parsley are enough. Use the proportions that make sense to you. Use 1/3 cup salt for each 2 cups of finely blended veggies/herbs.
5 ounces / 150 g leeks, sliced and well-washed (about 1 medium)
7 ounces / 200g carrot, well scrubbed and chopped (about 3-4 medium)
3.5 ounces / 100 g celery (about 2 big stalks)
3.5 ounces / 100g celery root (celeriac), peeled and chopped (about a 3” x 3″ chunk)
1 ounce / 30g sun-dried tomatoes (about 6 dried tomatoes)
3.5 ounces / 100g onion or shallots, peeled
1 medium garlic clove
6 ounces / 180g kosher salt (scant 1 cup)
1.5 ounces / 40 g flat-leaf parsley, loosely chopped (about 1/3 of a bunch)
2 ounces / 60g cilantro (coriander), loosely chopped (about ½ bunch)
Place the first four ingredients in your food processor and pulse about twenty times. Add the next three ingredients, and pulse again. Add the salt, pulse some more. Then add the parsley and cilantro. You may need to scoop some of the chopped vegetables on top of the herbs, so they get chopped. Mine tended to want to stay on top of everything else, initially escaping the blades.
You should end up with a moist, loose paste of sorts. Keep 1/4th of it in a jar in the refrigerator for easy access in the coming days, and freeze the remaining 3/4 for use in the next month. Because of all the salt it barely solidifies making it easy to spoon directly from the freezer into the pot before boiling.
Start by using 2 teaspoons of bouillon per 1 cup (250 ml), and adjust from there based on your personal preference.