This week I spent a little time replenishing my supply of souper mix. What is souper mix, you ask? Well, it's the reason I no longer make or buy containers of vegetable broth or stock — and have a lot more room in my pantry and freezer as a result.
For many years I made my own stock from vegetable scraps that I'd save in the freezer. Once I amassed enough scraps I'd simmer them in water to make a stock, which I would also store in the freezer. The whole thing took up a lot of space (not to mention defrosting time). Sometimes, in a pinch, I would buy stock from the grocery store but this always felt ridiculous because I knew how much cheaper and less wasteful the DIY version could be.
Everything changed when I discovered a recipe for "Souper mix" in Pam Corbin's River Cottage Preserves handbook. In short, you blend typical stock ingredients like carrots, leeks, and other vegetables with salt in a food processor to make a concentrated paste. Any time you need stock, you just stir a spoonful into hot water. (This method has also been popularized by Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks, who calls it Homemade Bouillon.)
This week I made four jars of souper mix. One went in the refrigerator and the others in the freezer. Corbin's recipe allows for a lot of flexibility but I like to keep the mix pretty basic so it's versatile. In my latest version I included carrots, celery, leeks, shallots, garlic, parsley, and cilantro. I love how this method doesn't hog up a lot of freezer or pantry space. Plus those few minutes of prep will save me time for months to come.
(Image credits: Emily Han)