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. I’ve taught it in countless cooking classes and sent folks 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 or sautéed. 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 soups, instead of water or stock, in risotti, to cook grains, etc.
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 leeks, sliced and well-washed
(about 1 medium)
7 ounces carrot, well scrubbed and chopped (about 3-4 medium)
3.5 ounces celery (about 2 big stalks)
3.5 ounces celery root (celeriac), peeled and chopped (about a 3” x 3″ chunk)
1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes (about 6 dried tomatoes)
1 large shallot or a 1/4 of smallish onion, peeled
1 medium garlic clove
6 ounces sea salt or kosher salt (scant 1 cup)
1.5 ounces flat-leaf parsley, loosely chopped (about 1/3 of a good-sized bunch)
2 ounces 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’ll want to stir up the mixture occasionally in order to integrate it all and create a smooth paste.
You should end up with a moist, loose paste of sorts. Put the past in a quart “yogurt” container or jar freeze for use over the next few months–it keeps well for a long time! Because of all the salt it remains scoopable directly from the freezer.
Start by using 1 teaspoon of bouillon base per 1 cup, and adjust from there based on your personal preference.