Bouillon is a staple ingredient in any cook or chef’s pantry. It provides a clear base and flavorful foundation to many soups, sauces, and gravies. It can be used in the liquid for cooking rice or pasta to add more flavor to the otherwise bland products.
Translated from the French, Bouillon means stock, from the verb bouillor, to boil. Traditionally, bouillon is a stock from the bones of beef, poultry, or seafood, which are boiled with aromatics such as onions, garlic, bay leaves or any herb to produce a clear liquid base to form soups, sauces and gravies. In the United States, however, it has become better known as a compressed cube or granules concentrated from stock.
A tidbit of history
Bouillon was referred to as pocket soup, or portable soup, until 1882 when the first bouillon cube was commercially produced. Although the saltiness of concentrating stock for bouillon has turned off many cooks, who opt for homemade stock, the ease of storage and use prevails; making the bouillon cube or granules the staples they are today.
Bouillon comes in many flavors:
- Bouillon cubes or granules can keep for years in a cool dry place.
- Dropping a quartered potato into boiling bouillon can reduce saltiness. Simmer for several minutes then strain.
- When reconstituting bouillon, instead of water, use a little white wine for chicken, or red wine for beef.
Homemade frozen bouillon
- 2 cups stock, chicken, beef, vegetable, etc.
- ½ cup dry wine, white or red, depending on stock. Vermouth or sherry can be substituted.
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 shallots, chopped.
Bring ingredients to a boil and simmer until reduced to 1 cup. Strain and cool. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen the cubes can be placed in plastic freezer bags and used as needed.