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A question about: Rigatoni with White Bolognese -- Do any of you use bouillon cubes or similar products, and if so, what brand? Why? Thanks!

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This recipe is on my "make-this-week" list. Ordinarily I'd use homemade beef stock from my freezer. But now that I see that a respected cook I know actually uses a commercial bouillon product, I'm considering buying some, for the first time in my life . . . . Thanks, PicklePals! ;o)

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

asked over 5 years ago
24 answers 1625 views
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added over 5 years ago

You see a respected cook using commercial bouillon? Something smells...fishy.

I can understand the cost and time saving arguments, but nothing beats homemade beef stock. Commercial bouillon is heavily laden with salts, and does not compare to the clarity from your beef stock.

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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 5 years ago

I don't, AJ, but yesterday I was at Costco and they were sampling a product with the name Better Than Bouillon. I have to admit it wasn't bad - certainly better than the cubes which I find have a metallic and very salty taste. It's a powder that you reconstitute in hot water.

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added over 5 years ago

I have Better Than Bouillon reduced sodium beef base in my refrigerator...it's a paste that we use when we're in a pinch, and it's not that bad. Although it's not nearly as good as homemade beef stock, it's definitely better than the cubes!

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SKK
added over 5 years ago

Better than Bouillon is also my choice when using commercial. Regarding sodium, 1 tsp has 710 mg. For each cup of stock calls for 1 tsp in 8 oz boiling water, for 1 quart of stock 1 1/2 tablespoons. It is a paste, not a powder and I agree with forester_lady is superior to cubes.

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SKK
added over 5 years ago

One more thing that may be of use - my absolute favorite home made vegetable bouillon is from http://www.101cookbooks... I make 1/2 recipe at a time and always have in the freezer. I have substituted it for beef bouillon and for chicken bouillon because it is so good.

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added over 5 years ago

I am with SKK on the home made bouillon from 101cookbooks.com veg bouillon. It is really worth the effort to make and lasts forever in the freezer. Better than Bouillon fish base is a great stand by for those who don't have ready access to fish frames (I live on the Maine coast and have to special order them). The Better than Bouillon products are available in most grocery stores and are really not a bad substitute for homemade.

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pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 5 years ago

Even Marcela Hazan admits to using bouillon cubes (for risotto) so get over it.

From time to time I also use prepared demi-glace. And dammit, I forgot a jar I left in a friend's refrigerator a week ago. And that stuff is expensive...and it's now 150 miles away from me.

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added over 5 years ago

How do cubes or Better than Bouillion compare with beef stock in the boxes?

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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added over 5 years ago

Sorry, no boullon cube rec's, but just to weigh in (i.e., rant) on the cooking police: puh-leeze. The longer I've cooked, the less patience I have - either re: shortcuts or being 100% faithful to the original dish, as it was made in Provence/Tuscany/Outer Slebovia since time began.

If I lived in a parallel universe with unlimited time/resources, I might be more doctrinaire...but here on earth, I pick my battles and shortcuts - cooking and otherwise. Store bought fresh pasta sheets, puff pastry, demi-glace, etc....no apologies. Gee, can you tell this is one of my pet peeves?

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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 5 years ago

I love it amysarah! Let me know when you find that parallel universe, would you? And where exactly is Outer Sebovia - seems that's a cuisine I've missed. I laughed out loud all through your response! Beautiful!

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AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 5 years ago

I didn't even know you could buy prepared demi-glace. Where do you get it? How is it packaged? What is its shelf life? I am finding it so difficult to source good veal bones these days (actually it's been years, sadly) that I actually might buy a prepared demi-glace, assuming that it tastes good. Fascinating! ;o)

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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 5 years ago

High end kitchen stores usually stock good prepared demi-glaces. Pierino is right - they really are a good product. Not cheap, but then making your own isn't without its commitment of time, ingredients, and energy. Did you have any idea what a conversation you were going to spark?!

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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added over 5 years ago

boulangere - Outer Slebovia is where I fill my house with flowers from my own cutting garden and always serve a different precisely paired wine with every course. (Glad you enjoyed ;-)

One note about prepared demi-glace - it is a great product, but be careful because it can be very salty. D'Artagnan makes a good one.

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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 5 years ago

So, amysarah, I'm guessing that Outer Slebovia is a hop-skip-jump from that parallel universe. Am I getting close?

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SKK
added over 5 years ago

My friends the rebels! Loving this.

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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 5 years ago

You're a hoot, SKK! We're all in this together!

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Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

added over 5 years ago

Those prepared demiglaces save our lives when we're cooking with my brother at his house. He lives in a slight food desert, but there is a store that carries a line of demiglaces--chicken, beef, veal, fish, and maybe a few others if we're lucky. We have been able to cook remarkable fish soups, daubes, other stews, all sort of things. There are several brands. One common one is called Demi Glace Gold. Another one has tall chefs' hats sitting on its lids, making them look taller than they really are. Sometimes you find them on top of the counter at the butcher's section. Other times, they're in almost random locations throughout the grocery store and you have to ask. I don't need them much in my food mecca, but elsewhere--they're absolutely worth the salt. Another advantage--they last practically forever. There's no need to use them up quickly.

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Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

added over 5 years ago

Foodpickle thinks I liked my last answer about prepared demiglaces so much that it moved it way up in the line. Not to worry, I have more to add! (It's local though and a teensy bit off topic.)

AJ, you and others that live in the East San Francisco Bay Area have a couple advantages, even if you're finding it difficult to source veal bones. The Pasta Shop in Rockridge routinely has frozen veal demiglace. It's pricy but very good. Another alternative is Star Meats, the current butcher shop inside Star Grocery on Claremont Avenue, is also making regular batches of veal stock. They call what they sell "double strength," so it's good for adding into other dishes.

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added over 5 years ago

Another vote for Better than Bullion.

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added over 5 years ago

On the West Coast, Bristol Farms has demi-glace in their freezer section, and also in their shelf-stable items. Little cups on the shelves, I'd guess about 1/4C each. Certainly not more than that. Pricey, but when I used it, I liked it....I'd assume Whole Paychecks has it as well.

That said, Better Than Bouillon is THE BOMB. It's in the packaged soup aisle of any grocery, along with those nasty bouillon cubes. Shelf stable until its opened, then you need to put it in the fridge. It will last for quite a while. I always, Always, ALWAYS have a jar of both the chicken and beef flavors in the fridge, and I couldn't cook without it. At least not so well. Great when you only need a cup or so of broth, much better than cracking open a can or a box. And you can adjust the amount of the paste you use to intensify the flavor if you want. It's a great product.

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added over 5 years ago

I've yet to find a cube that didn't taste of, well, just salt. Every now and again, I find one I think looks like it might be OK, but...

Actually, on my visits to the US, I've yet to find a packaged stock I'm happy with. Why does everything in the US, even the fancy organics at Wholefoods, have so much salt?! Have a local brand here that's pretty good, so I just stock boxes and boxes of it. Used to make all my own stock, but just don't always have the time or inclination. however, if all I could find was that nasty high-sodium stuff, I guess I'd go back to filling my freezer...

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Anitalectric

Anita is a vegan pastry chef & founder of Electric Blue Baking Co. in Brooklyn.

added over 5 years ago

I use Seitenbacher vegetable seasoning for everything. It comes in loose, powdered form so that you can use as much or as little as you want. More versatile and can be added even at the last minute. Dissolves in anything...water, cream, even salad dressing.

It is German but they have it at Whole Foods, health food stores, Fairway (NYC) and I have seen it other places, too. Much less additives than boullion and no animal or soy ingredients.

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added over 5 years ago

Just a thought--I've used my own chicken stock as a base for many a beef dish (especially if I am actually cooking the meat and bones so that it is almost making its own stock). Every now and again I buy something in a jar or a box with great hopes, but each time I am disappointed. Granted, chicken stock is not beef stock, but if its nice and thick and gelatinous it adds a great amount of depth, texture, nutrition and flavor.