Now that we are smack in the middle of spring, it probably seems a little out of season to be posting a recipe for broth, but if you're like me then brothy soups are a year round thing. Ramen, vegetable noodle, pho chay, matzo ball, hot and sour.... oh how I love you all!
I enjoy making a batch of vegetable broth from scratch when I have the time, but I really want something that can be kept at the ready for a quick weeknight dinner. Basically, I wanted something that would have convenience, economy and awesome flavor and I think I found it.
Still not sold on making your own bouillon cubes? Here are 5 reasons to try it out:
1. It's super easy to make thanks to the quiet power and grace of your humble slow cooker.
2. Even if you really need to go grocery shopping, there's a good chance you will still have the necessary ingredients kicking around your kitchen.
3. It's way cheaper than buying those little jars of vegan soup base.
4. You can control the amount of salt to your taste.
5. The little bouillon cubes stay in your freezer until you want to use them. No more half full cartons of store bought or homemade stock going bad in the back of your fridge before you get around to using them.
(This recipe is only slightly adapted from Kathy Hester's amazing Chickeny Bouillon in her book, The Vegan Slow Cooker. She has some really great ideas in this cookbook, I recommend it!)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion
3 medium carrots
2 large stalks celery
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste (I used 2 or 3 teaspoons)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
Use the oil to grease the inside of your slow cooker. Roughly chop the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Add the vegetables to the crock along with the herbs, pepper and salt. Pour the water over the vegetables, cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
When everything has cooked down nicely, transfer the vegetable mix to a blender along with the nutritional yeast. Blend until smooth and taste for saltiness. Adjust seasoning as you like it then let the mixture cool.
Spoon the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze completely. Once frozen, pop the bouillon cubes out and store in a ziplock bag in the freezer. Use as you would a conventional bouillon cube, but double the amount. To give you an idea, I use one cube for a single bowl of ramen soup and 4 cubes for a big pot of soup. Enjoy!
PS If you're not into the cube thing, you can also store this stuff in a jar in the fridge. Only keep in the fridge what you will use in a week or two and freeze the rest.