A few years ago I realized, that even though I tried to stay away from processed food as much I could, there was one thing I always needed and always bought. Beef, chicken and vegetable bouillon cubes -one of the essentials in so many recipes.
I planned ahead and tried to make my own beef and chicken stock whenever I could, but often I ended up using the tiny little cubes that we all can buy in every variation known to man.
Why make a soup or stew from scratch and then add highly processed ingredients? Damn these cubes and gravy packages. It bothered me; so much salt. They don’t even try to hide it, they name it at first in the ingredient list. How am I suppose to watch our sodium intake and cook healthy, tasty meals?
It left me frustrated and then I started thinking. How about I come up with my own homemade bouillon cubes? I started the research and come to find out I wasn’t alone.
Making beef and chicken bouillon is easy. Just reduce the stock to a syrup-like sauce, is all it takes to make homemade chicken and beef bouillon cubes. They look just like jello and last in the freezer for at least six months.
The vegetable bouillon, well that’s a bit more complicated but so worth it.
HOMEMADE VEGETABLE BOUILLON
- 1 lbs 8 oz / 700 g Carrots
- 10 oz / 300 g Leeks
- 7 oz / 200 g Onions
- 8 oz / 250 g Celery Root (Celeriac)
- 7 oz / 200 g Celery with leaves
- 14 oz / 400 g Broccoli
- 4 oz / 120 g Parsley root (if available, if not use more fresh parsley)
- 8 oz / 250 red peppers (not the hot ones)
- 1 oz / 25 g Tomatoes or Cherry tomatoes, dried (sun dried, check the sodium)
- 5 Bay leaves, fresh
- 2 oz /50 g Parsley fresh (all of it, leaves and steam)
- 3 Garlic gloves
- 2 TBSP Lovage dried (some people call it Maggikraut) OR
- a handful of fresh lovage (you will love it in your herb garden)
- 7 oz / 200 g Sea-salt (I use less, sometimes just 80 or 100 g)
Clean the vegetables and cut them into 1-inch cubes; chop the garlic and the fresh herbs (you can use dried herbs as well, just put them to the side until everything is dried).
I use a food processor, but a blender works as well. Everything, besides the tomatoes, has to be chopped as fine as possible. Cut the dried tomatoes in small pieces and add them at the very end.
Cover the baking sheets with parchment paper and spread the mixture evenly onto it (I use 3 baking sheets).
Dry the vegetables at 175 F for about 2 hours, then lower the temperature to 120 F and continue to dry for about 6-9 hours. Don’t close the oven all the way, I leave a small gap open – a potholder in between will do the trick.
Turn the vegetables over about every 2 hours, this way they dry more evenly. You will be able to tell when the vegetables are dried -depending on the weather and humidity it might take longer.
Add the dried herbs and the salt after drying and mix it well. If you want a really fine powder, just use an old coffee grinder, that will do the trick!
Store it glass containers, it lasts for a long time, also, it’s the perfect gift.
3-4 tsp equals 1 liter of broth.
Published on my kitchen blog January 2015