Saturday, February 18, 2012

Homemade Vegetable Bouillon

My first batch of Homemade Bouillon

Vegetable broth is one of those ingredients that has stumped me for a while. I never realized how many recipes call for vegetable (or chicken) broth. I searched for about a year, but no matter which brand I looked at, there was always something in the ingredients that I was sensitive to.

But I also noticed something else. Even if I didn't have food sensitivities.... there are some products that I don't think I'd want to consume.

For example, take a look at the ingredients in a major brand of bouillon:

Ingredients: with Other Natural Flavors Ingredients: Salt, Sugar, Flavor (Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Salt), Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Contains 2% or less of Silicon Dioxide (Anticaking Agent), Fat Flavor (Partially Hydrogenated Corn Oil, Flavoring), Natural Flavor (Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Salt, Sugar, Whey Powder [from Milk], Lactic Acid), Spice, Onion Powder, Dehydrated Cooked Beef, Caramel Color, Dried Beef Stock, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate, Autolyzed Yeast, Flavoring. No MSG Added (Contains Naturally Occurring Glutamates).

Food allergies and sensitivities aside... yuck! That is not even food- those are laboratory ingredients designed to taste like food.

In contrast, here are the ingredients in a top organic brand:

Vegetables* and Concentrated Vegetables* (Carrots*, Celery*, Onion*, Tomato*), Salt, Soy Sauce* (Water, Soybean*, Salt, Alcohol*), Cane Sugar*, Maltodextrin*, Natural Flavor, Potato Starch*, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Dried Onion*, Dried Garlic*, and Spice*. *Certified Organic by QAI

At least it is real food : ) But- as those of you with gluten or other sensitivities know- these ingredients still present an allergy/health issue- "natural flavor" could be anything. The catch-all "natural flavor" is so frustrating. It could be derived from corn, or soy, or wheat-- you simply do not know.

Even if the "natural flavor" turned out to be safe for me, I avoid corn, soy, potato, and yeast, due to allergies and sensitivities. So, even the organic brand does not work for me.

Of course, there are other brands, but I've found that they all contain very similar ingredients. Same goes for broth that comes in a box or can. In recipes, I would just use water instead of broth, but there was definitely flavor lacking in the final product.

One day, I came across this recipe for DIY Bouillon on 101 Cookbooks. This recipe is so easy, much healthier than store-bought, is made entirely from whole food (organic, if you choose) ingredients, and you can customize ingredients to your own needs or preferences.

I made a batch a while back, and it lasted forever. I used it in everything- in every recipe that called for broth (finally!), as extra flavor when making soup, in the rice cooker when making rice or quinoa, basically anything that could use some seasoning. I just love it. It is now a staple in my kitchen.

This time, I made half a batch, and adjusted the ingredients based on seasonal availability, and the fact that I am now tolerating more foods (yay!) I am posting with the ingredients I used, but click on the link above for the full/original version on 101 Cookbooks.

Homemade Vegetable Bouillon (Gluten free, Yeast free, Nightshade free, Vegan)
Equipment needed: Food processor
Makes about 1 1/2 cups (one quart, and one pint mason jar)

2 1/2 ounces leeks, slice into rings and wash well
3 1/2 ounces fennel bulb, roughly chopped
4 ounces carrot, scrubbed and roughly chopped
1 stalk celery
1 3/4 ounces shallots
2 small-ish garlic cloves
4.5 ounces fine grain sea salt
3/4 ounce parsley
1 ounce cilantro

Add vegetables to food processor, and pulse a few times to mix. Scrape down sides of food processor, if necessary. Add remaining ingredients, and process until well combined. You will wind up with a loose paste.
Spoon into jars, and keep in freezer until needed. Because of all the salt, it barely solidifies, so it is easy to scoop out when you need it.

As the original recipe suggests, I typically use about 1 tsp of this bouillon per 1 cup liquid; although sometimes I use a little more. It is totally up to you- feel free to adjust amounts (and ingredients) to your preference.

This recipe is linked to Made From Scratch Mondays on Living With Food Allergies and Celiac Disease. Be sure to check their page for more gluten free recipe ideas.

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