I sat down to write this post and discovered I’d pretty much written it before–this is what happens when your blog is almost 10 years old. But you know what? I’m going to repeat myself, just because I want to.
Back in 2013 I linked to this post by our friend Pascal on making instant soup stock with foraged greens: Wild Food Soup Stock. It’s great! But foraged greens have a short season here, and lately I’ve been using a more domestic recipe from the great blog Food in Jars: Homemade Vegetable Soup Concentrate.
Check them out. You’ll see the ways in which they are similar. Basically you’re just taking all the tasty, aromatic parts of soup stock (onions, parsley, carrots, etc.) and grinding them up with salt.
Don’t be put off if you don’t have all the ingredients called for in either recipe. I’ve never followed either of the recipes exactly. Use what you’ve got.
The salt preserves the ingredients and is, of course, flavor in itself. Because of all the salt, this soup starter/stock stays fresh in the fridge for months and months. It seems like a lot of salt, but not all that much ends up in any one finished dish. You will want to hold back on added salt in your recipe, though. I usually end up adding just a touch of salt at the end, but not nearly as much as I would without the stock base.
I love this stuff. I use it all the time. It’s one of my favorite cooking staples. I want you to love it, too.
What do you do with it? Well, we all know that stock makes everything taste better, and I do make and freeze stock, but that is a bit of a chore, and I end up being stingy with my stock, considering a recipe and wondering whether it is “stock worthy.”
When you have instant stock in the fridge, you don’t have to hold back. Just sling spoonfuls of it into anything you’re making. It goes in the rice water, in the couscous water–into any cooked grain situation. It gets stirred into beans to finish them. It starts off all soups and stews. It can be soup in itself–just add some to some hot water and toss in whatever you’ve got in the fridge to make a quick soup. Basically, if the recipe is savory and calls for water at some point, the water gets supercharged with flavor.
The best thing is that one batch of this will last you for months. So just a bit of effort up front yields long-lasting rewards.
Please give it a try!