11/16/2011 02:24 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

What's The Big Deal With Bouillon Cubes?

The Splendid Table®'s How To Eat Supper
By Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Dear Lynne,

What is the big deal with bouillon cubes? Cookbook authors seem to hate them. Evidently if I try risotto with cube broth the sky will fall in.



Dear Barry,

The sky won't fall in, but the risotto will taste lousy. Come on, if you are going to spend the time and money, you deserve better. Cubes have no lusciousness, no "this is so good I want to slurp it up" qualities.

Worst of all, the cube's salty, chemical aftertaste lingers on the tongue for what seems like an eternity.

At least doctor up a can of broth. This isn't Nonna's brodo, but you'll get a good risotto out of it in short time.

Quick Chicken Stock with Wine Reduction
Makes about 5 cups and doubles easily
15 minutes prep time; 40 minutes stove time
Quick stock keeps 4 days in the refrigerator and freezes up to 6 months.

1-1/4 cups dry white wine
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 canned tomato
1 bay leaf, broken
1/4 teaspoon dry basil
3 cans (14-ounces each) low-sodium chicken broth (College Inn or Swanson's)
1 medium to large onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 large stalk celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 medium carrot, coarsely chopped

1. In a 4-quart pot, combine wine, garlic, tomato, bay leaf, and basil. Simmer 8 minutes, or until the wine is almost entirely evaporated.

2. Add the broth and remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, partially cover, and simmer very gently for 30 minutes. Strain the broth before using it.