It is true that it takes a bit of work to make this soup base, and you need a sturdy kitchen machine such as a Thermomix or a food processor or a very good blender. I make mine in an almost 20 year old Thermomix that has seen better days – but it still functions! The ingredients are carrots, celery, leeks, onions, garlic, parsley, dried tomatoes, salt, and black peppercorns.
The recipe comes from a blog called “Food In Jars” by Marisa McClellan. http://foodinjars.com/2016/01/homemade-vegetable-soup-base/ Marisa has written 3 wonderful books on the subjects of canning, pickling, and cooking. I have all three, and over time will be sharing with you more recipes based on inspiration from her books. My favorite book of hers is called Naturally Sweet. All of the recipes in it are sweetened with natural sweeteners like honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, etc. I think her techniques make all of my canned items taste much more natural. For example, I made a jam out of nectarines and honey, and the taste of the nectarines is so much more intense, and also more authentic.
Now, back to our paste. It does contain a lot of salt, and you should not reduce the salt in this recipe. The salt is what preserves the soup base and allows you to keep it in the fridge for up to 4 months, or up to a year in the freezer. Simply adjust the salt content in the recipe you’ll be using it in to allow for the salt content of the base. A good rule of thumb is to add about 1 tablespoon per cup of water in your recipe – if you do this, it won’t be too salty. I haven’t had to freeze it yet, but you could thaw it for a while before using it so that it’s easier to break apart. Or you could freeze it in 1 tablespoon portions. The taste of the soup base continues to evolve and improve over the weeks, so you can just label your jar with the date you made it and keep it in the fridge and see how far you come before you may need to freeze it.
The original recipe calls for fresh cilantro, but I don’t like cilantro, so I’ve substituted more parsley here. If I’m able to get fresh turmeric, I sometimes add 1-2 pieces to this recipe as well, simply because it’s supposed to be good for you, and barely alters the taste. You can choose to add any fresh herbs or spices to this that you like. Experiment with your favorite fresh herbs!
And now to the recipe:
3 medium sized carrots
½ of a celery root or 4 stalks of celery
1 cup of salt
1 large leek
1 medium-large onion
1 large bunch of parsley
½ cup dried tomatoes (NOT preserved in oil)
5 large cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 piece of turmeric (optional)
- Wash and cut the vegetables in medium sized pieces. If the carrots are fresh, you can just rinse them. If they still have the tops, you can even throw in some of the tops! (Carrot tops have lots of vitamins and minerals – more than the carrots themselves!)
- Begin in your blender with the parsley, then the carrots on top. In the Thermomix, I do this on setting 7. Blend until the pieces are very small.
- Next, comes the celery and about one quarter of the salt. Blend again into small pieces.
- Next, add the leek and another quarter of the salt.
- Finally, add the dried tomatoes and the garlic, with the rest of the salt and the peppercorns.
- Continue to blend until you have made a very fine paste, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary so all ingredients are incorporated and blended evenly.
- Divide the paste into jars that have been sterilized in boiling water or the dishwasher, label the jars with the date and store in the refrigerator.
Enjoy trying this recipe and I hope you’ll let me know if you liked it in the comments below. I can’t wait to know if you fall in love with this recipe as much as I have.