I love soup. I love its great variety, its generally healthy ingredients (the occasional heavy cream excepted), and how beautifully it holds up in the freezer. I love how calm I feel when I cook a huge pot of soup on a weekend afternoon, making days’ worth of wholesome, delectable fare with the relatively painless consequence of having to wash only one single dirty dish (plus a utensil or two). I love how flexible and utilitarian soups can be—don’t want to waste the rice pilaf from last night’s doggie bag? Toss it in the soup! Most of all I love how soup so often provides justification for eating extra bread and cheese. That’s totally cool.
As a Lazy Gourmet, I don’t go out of my way to make my own soup stock. I’m always thrilled when my mother has occasion to boil a chicken and winds up with extra broth to share, but most of the time I use canned or boxed broth for my soups. Actually, I should say I used to use canned or boxed broth—until I discovered Better Than Bouillon. Better Than Bouillon is a line of concentrated soup bases—flavorful pastes that you add to water to create delicious stocks for any purpose. According to their website, which lists over a dozen different BTB products, “Better Than Bouillon concentrated paste food bases are made primarily from meat, seafood, or vegetables. This gives them a richer and more natural flavor than ordinary bouillon cubes or granules.” BTB’s many flavors include beef, chicken, vegetable, mushroom, fish, lobster, and chili (to name just a few) and they offer a selection of vegan, organic, low-sodium, and kosher items among their extensive product line.
Why am I such a big fan? Here is a list of reasons:
- A tiny spoonful goes a long way, so one jar seems to last forever (in the fridge)
- I never wind up with half a can or box of broth that needs to be used up in the next two weeks
- It’s DELICIOUS
- In addition to using it for soups, I also like to stir it into the water when I cook rice or other grains
- It’s much easier to lug home from the grocery store than multiple cans or boxes of broth
- It’s not packed with weird artificial mystery chemicals
And there you have it. Better Than Bouillon lives up to its name and gets a Lazy Gourmet stamp of approval. Try it in one of my favorite super simple comfort soups:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 pound turnips, peeled and diced to ½ inch
- 6 cups water
- 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon vegetable or chicken base
- ½ cup uncooked brown rice
- 1 big bunch Swiss chard, chopped
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
- In a stockpot, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, add onion and turnips. Sautée until onions are soft and turnips are browned, about 7-10 minutes.
- Add water and bring to a boil.
- Stir in Better Than Bouillon, reduce heat, and let simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Add rice and continue to simmer, covered, until rice is slightly tender, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in Swiss chard, submerging it in the broth and simmering until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, and additional BTB if needed.
- Serve with grated Parmesan.