Fresh Vegetable Boullion

Fresh Vegetable Boullion

Details

This highly-flavorful vegetable stock or bouillon is easy to prepare and requires no cooking. Because it is so concentrated, it takes up very little space in the freezer in comparison to broth or stock.
  • Serves: 3 to 4
  • Active Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Views: 62,642
  • Success: 100%

Steps

Step 1: Preparing the Vegetables

• 100 g celery stalks (approx. 2)
• 100 g celeriac or celery root (1 small)
• 200 g fennel bulb (1 small)
• 150 g leeks (2)
• 200 g carrots (2 to 4)
• 30 g sun-dried tomatoes (approx. 2 tbsp)
• 100 g shallots (2 to 4)
• 2 cloves garlic
• 10 g flat-leaf parsley (1/8 bunch)
• 20 g cilantro (approx. 1/4 bunch)
• 175 g fine sea salt*

Method

To prepare the vegetables, wash, trim and peel where necessary. Roughly chop all of the ingredients so they are easier to puree.

*Note: The salt is best measured by weight because different salts will vary by volume. If using kosher salt, this will be approximately 1 cup. While this may seem like a large amount of salt, it is necessary to keep the vegetables from going bad. You are basically preserving the vegetables with the salt.

Step 2: Making the Bouillon

Method

Note: If you have a small food processor (less than 8 or 10 cup capacity), you may need to make this in 2 batches.

To make the paste, start with celeriac and carrots. Pulse them several times until they start to collapse and break down. Then add the fennel, leeks, celery, shallots and garlic; pulse again. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and pulse to blend everything together. Next, add the salt and pulse a few times. Then add the fresh herbs and pulse again. Once everything is well blended and mixed together, you should have a nice, moist, paste-like consistency.

Place a bit of the paste into a jar and refrigerate so you can use it throughout the week. Place the remaining paste into a container and freeze. The salt keeps it from freezing solid, so whenever you need a bit, you can just scoop it out of the container. Alternatively, the paste can be canned.

To prepare the bouillon, measure 1 tablespoon per 1 cup of hot water. Taste and adjust to your liking. This bouillon can be used in soups, sauces, stews, risotto or grains. Basically, anywhere you want to add a bit more flavor. Just remember that it is quite salty, so keep that in mind when you are seasoning the rest of the dish.

Chef's Notes

To make a salt-free version, you will need to freeze the paste; otherwise, the vegetables will go rancid. To do this, freeze the paste into smaller portioned-size servings. Be warned though, the paste does not keep as well without the salt. The vegetables tend to get a bit of freezer burn and form some fairly big ice crystals.

I also tried making several versions using less salt but the more salt I omitted, the more the bouillon seemed to suffer. I think I will stick with the saltier version and just omit the seasoning in whatever dish I am cooking. Once you get the hang of the saltiness, it makes cooking a dish just a bit faster as you don’t have to worry about seasoning very much, if at all.

The flavors in this particular vegetable paste are nicely balanced and very refreshing. However, you can add more or less of anything you like. You may even want to omit certain vegetables. You could also try adding things like mushrooms to give the stock a more earthy tone. That is the great thing about this paste; you can play around to see what works for you. Just make sure the vegetables are very fresh. Keep in mind that what you add to the paste will ultimately give the bouillon its character or flavor profile. For example, green peppers, garlic, cilantro, onions, chilies, and certain spices would give the bouillon an Latin American essence.

This recipe was inspired by Pam Corbin from her River Cottage Preserves Handbook. And also by 101 Cookbooks.

38 Comments

  • Tamsin T
    Tamsin T
    Dawn, how do I easily translate the metric measurements into American/English measurements?
  • Kevin O
    Kevin O
    ... give the figure in any one measurement and it automatically completes every other measurement. They are grouped by region and you can specify certain types of ingredient also. http://www.convert-me.com/en/convert/cooking
  • Kevin O
    Kevin O
    ... there are lots of apps out there that could be conveniently be at the touch of a button in your pocket that take the guesswork away. On the iPhone I use Kitchen Pro but I'm sure Android phones have comparable apps. I know having an internal concept of weights and conversions is useful but these little time savers are great when you're in a pinch or your in a faff. I tend to flap a lot in the kitchen as I'm not particularly well organized. Plus I'm in the UK and the slight difference between certain US/UK measurements versus no difference in others tends to throw me on the fly.
  • Bernie J
    Bernie J
    Can it be used as a subtitute for either chicken or beef bouillon or stock? Or is it intended to be used only as a vegetable bouillon along with the many other ideas you have provided on how to use it (which is great in and of itself!). I love the idea of being able to store it in the freezer and spooning it out as needed. Bernie
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    In many cases, it can be used as a substitute for either chicken or beef stock; however, when cooking things like braised meats you will like want the added depth of that flavor that a meaty broth or stock will provide. One important note about this stock is that it will not produce any gelantin like a homemade meat stock will. Therefore, it will not perform (thicken) the same way when reducing etc. It is really just meant to make a flavorful water This is where experimenting comes in. Anytime you go to add water to something, like rice for instance, you may want to think about adding a bit of the vegetable paste. Or anytime you go to add a stock, ask yourself if you could substitute it with this bouillon. Hope this helps. Cheers!
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Also, keep in mind that the measurements for this recipe are just rough estimates. You can also go by the other measurements in the recipe if you like, i.e. 1 carrot, 2 celery stalks, 2 leeks. Alternatively, the links that Kevin O. provided should do the trick. Thanks Kevin :-) Cheers!
  • Kim O
    Kim O
    Just an idea.........I wonder if I could add ground flax seed to the mixture to boost number of ways to get omega three's into my families diet and also would the flax have a thickening effect on soups etc.? I use flax as an egg substitute..........this could be a convenient way to add body to a dish as well as the many ways you could change the bouillon to achieve different flavors.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    You can certainly try adding ground flax seeds the paste. Depending on how much you add it would likely have some sort of thickening effect. I would say that you would need to just play around with it. When I was experimenting with the different ratios of salt, I split the recipe into 4 and played around with the amounts using the small batches. That way I had enough to make a useful amount, yet I didn't have to affect the entire batch with each experiment. Hope that helps. Cheers!
  • Kim O
    Kim O
    This will be fun to play with.
  • Thomas W
    Thomas W
    If you want to get stuff done in the kitchen, get a scale. All the scales I can buy here in Germany have the option to switch from metric to imperial. Or switch to metric which is the better choice anyway ;-)
  • Thomas W
    Thomas W
    I've seen recipes like this where you put the paste as a small layer on a baking sheet and dry it in the oven at low temperature for quite a long time (some suggest to put a spoon in the oven door so the moisture can get out). If you have a dehydrator that should work too. After drying you might want to put it in the food processor again to get a nice powder that you can use as easy as the store bought stuff. I think you can cut down the salt a lot that way too. But all that is still on my "I have to try that... sometimes" list.
  • Saikat B
    Saikat B
    I have been trying to find a veg-bouillon recipe for long time. Can't wait to try it out.. I am just wondering if there any other vegetable that could substitute celery...any suggestion?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    That's what so great about this recipe, you can leave out or add any number of vegetables to suit your tastes. With that said, if you want to simply omit the celery you can. Perhaps you might just want to up the other vegetables a bit. Alternatively, you could try adding a bit of jicama. Here is a great site for substitutions that you may want to bookmark. Good luck with the bouillon. Cheers!
  • Bart T
    Bart T
    The vegetable bouillon is a grand slam. It is versitle, adds dimension and depth, it is an easy way to enhance the flavor of a dish. It makes a great dish greater.
  • Mary F
    Mary F
    Do these need to be just plain dried? I have some packed in oil. Would that work as well?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Either the dried (once rehydrated) or oil packed sun-dried tomatoes would work. I used the oil-packed ones myself. I just drained them of the excess oil before adding them. Cheers!
  • Saikat B
    Saikat B
    Thanks for the suggestion and the link Dawn! I will try it out soon.
  • Eagranie Y Rouxbe Staff
    Eagranie Y
    Dawn, do you have any guidelines for canning the mixture? Does it need to be heat processed -- and if so, is the mixture shelf-stable or does it need to be refrigerated? Thanks!
  • Joe G Rouxbe Staff
    Joe G
    Unfortunately, we haven't yet covered food safety and/or the canning process. We will be getting to this in the coming months I promise. In the interim, here's a post with some helpful tips from Food Canada (as I noted you were from Canada). Hope you find it helpful. http://tinyurl.com/bt4fert Cheers, Joe.
  • Darren S
    Darren S
    I found that after leaving for 10 mins after made there was quite a bit of water in the paste - prob due to me not completely drying my parsley and leeks! Should I try and drain out some of this water before freezing?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    The vegetables themselves due contain quite a bit of moisture but you are correct in thinking that the excess water is likely due to not drying out your herbs and leeks. As for what to do this time, I would say if there is a lot of excess water then perhaps you might strain it out. I say that as I like the paste to be drier (just the veggies and salt) that way I don't have to factor in any extra water when I am using the paste in things like rice, where the ratio of water to rice matters. But if it's just a bit of excess then don't stress over it too much. Hope that helps and makes sense. Cheers!
  • Sue T
    Sue T
    I tried this bouillon. It is fantastic and I have a small jar that leave in the freezer - and you're right, it does not freeze. I have tried using 1 t which I added to the cooking water when boiling rice - the result is the rice is very tasty. Also used it in pan sauces as well as in soups. Thanks for a great recipe.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    So glad that you liked the recipe Sue. I know it is definitely a staple in our house. Cheers!
  • Stephanie D
    Stephanie D
    This is a fantastic recipe! Thank you for posting it. When I first made this, the cilantro (a flavor we like very much) seemed overpowering. However, a few days on, and the flavors had all blended in deliciously. I personally like the full salt version and am keeping it stored in the freezer. I remember reading somewhere its shelf life but my eyes aren't finding it again. What is a good length of usable time for this bouillon with salt and in the freezer? Thanks :)
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Technically, frozen food can keep indefinitely; however, its quality will begin with time. With that said, this paste/bouillon should last for several months (especially due to the salt). Hope that helps. Cheers!
  • Sean D
    Sean D
    You're right, that salt level looks crazy, but I'm going to give it a shot next week. I'm all cooked up this week with two dals, two rice and some potatoes already in the fridge.
  • Merna B
    Merna B
    I made French Canadian pea soup on Sunday and didn't want to use my chicken stock as I had a hard time buying chicken backs and necks so I used this bouillon. The soup was great, thanks.
  • Bonnie D
    Bonnie D
    I made this earlier in the week and put some in the fridge and portioned out the rest for the freezer. I could not wait to use it in a recipe so made the red lentil coconut soup. I tasted it for salt and only needed to add a little at the end. What a great way to incorporate more flavor via a veggie stock that is ready made! What a time saver. I will make this again.
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Thanks Bonnie! It is a great recipe- glad you liked it! it does add amazing depth and flavor punch. Enjoy!
  • Amy S
    Amy S
    I thought I was being clever when I portioned this fabulous bouillon recipe into ice trays to freeze 2-cup concentrate portions. Guess what happened? It didn't really freeze! Kind of like when you try to freeze a daiquiri with alcohol in it, it gets to a slushy kind of state, but won't freeze all the way. But actually, that worked out even better for me, because I took the semi-solid portions and put them into a large ziploc and laid it flat in my freezer. Now I can -- and frequently do -- pull out just a 1 cup portion (half an ice cube) or as much as I want, and I'm not putting an ice cube into my dish. Love love love this recipe.
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Great tip, Amy- We love this recipe because it is so versatile and easy to use! We're happy that you like it as much as we do. Cheers!
  • Merna B
    Merna B
    We haven't had a frost yet this year which is rather unusual and to top it off it was an odd growing season. I have more parsley than a family could possible use and my carrot crop failed twice. I hate letting food rot in the fridge or in the ground so I'm making batches of this excellent bouillon but with only one or up to three ingredients. If it fails I'm not out much but a bit of time and some salt. So far I have three cups of parsley, garlic and thyme bouillon and two cups of thyme oregano and italian parsley. Any other suggestions? Merna
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    How fun! Good on you for not letting food go to waste. I especially like celery (and a bit of celery leaves) as well as some shallot or leek. The herbs are great, but I find a little goes a very long way when the herbs are more prominent. Let us know how you use them, OK?
  • Pat C
    Pat C
    We did not think we would use this and now we get anxious when the container is running low, Who knew? Fabulous, cannot be without this freezer item for our kitchen!
  • Mary W
    Mary W
    Just wondering if it would be possible to incorporate some miso paste into the recipe in lieu of some of the salt. It would add certainly flavour and I'm wondering what your thoughts might be on amounts, etc.
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Interesting idea! I would start by swapping out miso 2:1 for salt. So, remove something like 50 grams of salt (~2 oz) and add 100 (4oz) grams of miso. Experiment and see what works for you! ~Ken
  • Emily S
    Emily S
    If I add say, some mushrooms and potato by 100 grams or more, would I need to increase salt amount and by how much? Would mushrooms and potatoes be good to add to this?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Mushrooms do contain a lot of moisture, so not sure how they would work — but it's worth a try. As for the potatoes, I don't think they would work so well as they are quite starchy and would also likely make for a cloudy stock. All this being said, feel free to experiment with the recipe and see what works for you. Cheers, Dawn

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