Homemade Bouillon

Homemade Bouillon Recipe

You can absolutely make homemade bouillon. And I know you can thanks to Pam Corbin. Pam wrote the lovely River Cottage Preserves Handbook.* In the very back of this exquisite little book, long past the rhubarb relish, and well beyond the piccalilli and winter fruit compote, she proposes a simple idea: make your own bouillon. I'm not sure why this never occurred to me, but until I reached page 207, it hadn't. She outlines a list of ingredients that are pureed into a concentrated paste of vegetables and herbs, preserved with salt. I've been cooking with a version of it all week, and it is infinitely better than any canned vegetable stock I've tasted. And the best part about it? You can build on the general idea and tweak it based on what is in season and my own personal preferences - which is what I did.
Homemade Bouillon

What is Bouillon?

Technically, a bouillon cube is a dehydrated cube or powder used to create an instant vegetable stock. Pam calls her version "souper mix"....but you use it in a way similar to bouillon cubes. It is used to make quick, flavorful broth. For example, when cooking soups, risottos, curries, whatever really. Homemade Bouillon

A Few Tips

The main thing? Keep in mind bouillon is quite salty and very concentrated. I mention in the recipe I've been using 1 teaspoon per 1 cup of water/liquid to start. You can adjust from there based on what you're making and personal preference. And as far as variations go, this first batch was made primarily with ingredients from my refrigerator, but I'm really excited to try other versions using different herbs and ratios of the base ingredients. In fact, if you have any suggestions or ideas give a shout in the comments - I'd love to hear them!

More Bouillon Variations

A number of your variations caught my attention, so I thought I'd highlight a couple here. Love these!

  • Karen "tried a variation with local ingredients: carrot, long onion (like a leek), daikon radish, japanese wild parsley, salt, and 7 pepper blend. added a bit of soy sauce for more salt and flavor, too. then i used it to make red lentil soup. WOW! the soup never tasted so good!!!"
  • Dominican Foodie liked the texture of the version she made noting, "I made a couple of changes to your recipe. I doubled the ingredients (except salt and tomatoes) Added extra garlic and white onions, juiced the first half (set aside), tossed the second half in olive oil and roasted for two hours, then tossed everything into a large deep pot, added bay leaves and simmered until liquid was reduced by half. Took out bay leaves, stuck an immersion blender in the pot and smoothed everything out into a paste. Perfection!"

*The U.S. edition of the River Cottage Preserves Handbook is now available.

There is a whole directory of great soup recipes where you can put your bouillon to use!

Homemade Bouillon

4 from 2 votes

This recipe requires a food processor. I have a 8-cup / 2 liter / 2 quart model, and needed every cubic inch of it. I found the best approach if you are tight for space in your food processor is to add a few of the ingredients, then pulse a few times. The ingredients collapse and free up more space for the next few ingredients. If you don't find yourself using much bouillon, I will suggest making a half batch of this. And for those of you wanting to do a version with no salt, freeze the pureed vegetables in small amounts - say, ice cube trays, just after pureeing them. Introduce salt in whatever amount you like later in the cooking process.

Ingredients
  • 5 ounces / 150 g leeks, sliced and well-washed
  • 7 ounces / 200g fennel bulb, chopped
  • 7 ounces / 200g carrot, well scrubbed and chopped
  • 3.5 ounces / 100 g celery
  • 3.5 ounces / 100g celery root (celeriac), peeled and chopped
  • 1 ounce / 30g sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3.5 ounces / 100g shallots, peeled
  • 3 medium garlic cloves
  • 9 ounces / 250g fine grain sea salt
  • 1.5 ounces / 40 g flat-leaf parsley, loosely chopped
  • 2 ounces / 60g cilantro (coriander), loosely chopped
Instructions
  1. Place the first four ingredients in your food processor and pulse about twenty times. Add the next four 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Start by using 1 teaspoon of bouillon per 1 cup (250 ml), and adjust from there based on your personal preference.
Notes

Makes roughly 3 1/2 cups.

Inspired by The River Cottage Preserves Handbook by Pam Corbin. The U.S. edition of the River Cottage Preserves Handbook will be available this summer.

Serves
200
Prep Time
30 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

  • I am ridiculously excited about this recipe. I use bouillon so much, I have having to stock up at the store. As an added bonus, I just got a new food processor so this is the perfect excuse to play with it :)

    Alyssa
  • This is such a fantastic idea. I kept looking for the step that would say "cook down for hours" as if to concentrate it like a typical cube, but love that this keeps things fresh instead.

    deb
  • Wow, what a great idea! Would love to try this soon. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Grapefruit
  • Mmm. I wonder how this would be with mushrooms? Currently, my favorite vegetarian bouillon is Better than Bouillon's Mushroom version. I'll have to start experimenting on a homemade version!

    VeryThorough
  • I'm so excited to try this idea! Thanks!

    Angela
  • Brilliant!

    carla
  • Thanks for posting this! I too am tired of running out of boxed stock.

    Wendy
  • YES! I have been so uninspired by food lately and this is going to get me back to experimenting. What a simple, perfect, idea that should be obvious yet isn't. Love it! I'll need this cookbook now too.

    Darla
  • What a fantastic idea! I rarely manage to make stock (it's so time consuming) but always want more flavor. My shortcut way to beef up (sorry, pun) a recipe has been to sautee finely diced carrots & celery with onions and garlic. But I can't wait to try homemade bouillon/soup starter. Sounds wonderfully flavorful.

    Kathy
  • Pam Corbin rocks - I've made several of her jellies and jams over the last year. My Preserves handbook is much loved (and berry splattered!). I hadn't even spotted this recipe so off to have a nosy now. Great post, thanks for sharing

    nic @ nip it in the bud
  • What an awesome idea! I spend so much money on canned organic vegetable stock and I've never been thrilled with the results when I make my own. This sounds wonderful! Please do post about the variations you try - I have a feeling this is going to be a staple of my fridge from now on and I love the idea of different flavor profiles.

    Wendi Gratz
  • Looks good! But I agree recipes like this in weights are so frustrating obviously a chef's recipe not a home cooks. Why 100g of carrots and not 2 small carrots. If you are going to use all that veg though why not just make stock and freeze it?

    Merrie
  • I have been looking around at broth recipes and this one looks really delicious! I love leeks and fennel!

    christie @ honoring health
  • This is brilliant - what a good idea!

    Suzi
  • how about adding a recipe box? that would be nice and very useful.

    yogie
  • What an incredible idea! Making your own bouillon is genius! I love the fact that it can include whatever we like! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Estela @ Weekly Bite
  • Often the hardest part about converting meat-recipes to vegetarian meals is exactly this: the stock. I think most vegetable stock recipes are a bit bland and leave the vegetarian dish flat. This is a great recipe for an indispensable cooking ingredient. Soup and sauce magic ! Thank you so much for sharing it and for making our lives tastier every week :) Michaela

    Michaela @ The Gardener's Eden
  • Love the idea. Perfect. You can scoop some into ice cube trays and pop them out into zip-lock baggies when frozen for storage in the freezer in just the right portions. Really great stuff. Thanks.

    Mickie McCalll
  • I love this idea! I can't have much salt, and as this is preserved by freezing, couldn't I cut way back on the salt?

    Catharine Butterfield
  • Awesome! This looks like the answer to "stock issues". Can not wait to try it. Thanks for posting. Its always great to see what you are up to. Thanks for the inspirations.

    Chris
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