Artisan Cuisine: Healthy soups homemade with bouillon

By By Anne Boulley January 09, 2012 01:53 pm

Many times when I’m in the mood for a healthy homemade soup I realize I’m out of chicken stock and I really don’t like to resort to using bouillon cubes that have MSG and contain mostly salt.

So, this habit of making a quick vegetable bouillon for flavoring soups is healthy, very handy and much better tasting than buying store-bought stock or bouillon. Here’s how you make it and one of my favorite winter soup recipes to try:

Clean and scrub your veggies well, then chop into 2-inch pieces as necessary to put into a food processor.

1 bunch of celery, including the leaves (about 8 stalks)

2 large or 4 small onions (peeled)

1 head of garlic (about 10 cloves)

6 carrots (peeled)

1 bunch of parsley, stems included

1⁄2 cup or more of sun dried tomatoes (optional)

Into the food processor, pulse the vegetables until they are a fine mash of ingredients. Add 2 tablespoons of sea salt and whiz a minute more. Place into a freezer bag and keep in freezer for up to 2 months. Use 1 tablespoon of this mixture in 1 cup of hot water for an instant vegetable broth.

This mixture can be frozen in ice cube trays for convenient serving

sizes. It isn’t as salty as the stuff you buy from the store so you will have

to taste for seasoning when making your soups or using it for sautéing foods.

I love to roast vegetables, put them into a pot with a little of this veggie broth and puree with a stick blender until smooth. Then I dollop a bit of greek yogurt on top or maybe some pesto and a handful of pumpkin seeds or croutons. Here's a recipe I’ve been making while the acorn squash have been on special. It’s elegant and delicious:


Gingered Acorn Squash Bisque

2 acorn squash, halved, seeds removed and roasted in 400-degree oven for 45 minutes (or until fork tender)

1 tablespoon dried ginger (or a tablespoon of fresh ginger grated and added to the veggie stock mixture)

3 tablespoons homemade bouillon mixture

3 cups water

salt, pepper to taste

Olive oil

buttermilk

reserved squash seeds toasted (rinse, dry, spread on cookie sheet coated with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and bake 10 minutes in 300-degree oven or until the seeds start to pop)


Roast the squash, then when cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and add to the water flavored with the homemade bouillon. Add the ginger. Blend with stick blender and heat. Add more water as needed to get the thickness you desire. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle a bit of buttermilk, cream or yogurt on top and swirl then sprinkle the toasted seeds on top. Serve.

Anne Boulley is a local chef and culinary instructor with a passion for artisan foods. Her cooking classes and services are offered via her website, www.thegourmetguide.com