Top | The River Cottage Preserves Handbook

Souper Mix

(recipe, Pam Corbin)

Introduction

A good vegetable bouillon or stock can be the making of many a soup, risotto, or sauce. Preparing your own stock from scratch is easy enough, but it does take a little time, so an instant alternative is often welcome. The choice of vegetable bouillon powders and stock cubes on the market is pretty limited. There are one or two good products, but if you use them frequently, you might find an underlying uniformity creeping into your cooking. This is my solution: Whip up your very own souper mix, a concentrated paste of fresh vegetables simply preserved with salt. It's quick and easy to make, and the stock it produces is delicious. You can use just about any herbs or vegetables you like; the important thing is that they are fresh and taste as vegetable-y as possible. My preferred ingredients are indicated in this recipe, but you could also use young turnips, shallots, celery, rutabagas, beets, or peppers, as well as bay leaves, thyme, lovage, or mint — almost anything, really. Just bear in mind that the character of the stock will vary depending on the ingredients you choose. The following ingredients are given in prepared weights — i.e., the ingredients should be washed, trimmed, and peeled where necessary.

Ingredients

  1. 9 oz. leek
  2. 7 oz. fennel
  3. 7 oz. carrot
  4. 9 oz. celery root
  5. 2 oz. sun-dried tomatoes
  6. 2 or 3 garlic cloves
  7. 3½ oz. parsley
  8. 3½ oz. cilantro
  9. ¾ cup plus 1 Tbsp. salt

Steps

  1. The helping hand of a food processor is essential in this recipe. Simply put all the ingredients into the processor and blend together. The result will be a moist, granular paste. Spoon into sterilized jars and seal with vinegar-proof canning lids.
  2. Keep one jar of the mix in the fridge, within easy reach for everyday cooking. The rest can be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place. Use within six months.
  3. To use souper mix, just stir about 1 teaspoon of it into 1 cup of hot water.