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Use Store-Bought Bouillon To Elevate Your Meatballs

meatballs in pan
meatballs in pan - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Premade meatballs are never going to be better than what you can make yourself but that doesn't mean there aren't some great store-bought convenience items that can make your homemade meatballs a lot better. Anything from stuffing mix to applesauce can infuse you meatballs with flavor, make them more tender, and make life a little easier for you. And despite the gamut of styles that meatballs come in, from rich and creamy Swedish to tangy barbecue, they can all benefit from a boost that makes them more than just ground beef, pork, and sauce. That's especially true of something that somehow makes meatballs taste even meatier while requiring no extra cooking. And that something is bouillon.

Bouillon comes in a few different forms like cubes, powders, and pastes, but they are all a form of concentrated stock and seasonings, usually chicken, beef, or vegetable. Bouillon is made by dehydrating broth and essentially boils that taste down into a super-concentrated flavor bomb. And because it is made from stock, which uses herbs and aromatics along with the primary meat or veggies, bouillon also contains incredible complexity in a small package. Just a small dose of bouillon can add all the tastes of a rich stock to your meatballs, and because of its dehydrated form, it can be easily added to a meatball mixture without adding much moisture that could disrupt its texture or structural integrity. There is no easier way to pack this much flavor into a meatball.

Read more: Tips You Need When Cooking With Ground Beef

Bouillon Is An Easy, Flavor-Packed Addition That Works With Almost Any Meatball Recipe

chicken bouillon cubes
chicken bouillon cubes - Pam Walker/Shutterstock

Before you go tossing bouillon into your meatballs, the one caveat is that there is a wide range of quality in the product. Some cheap packets and cubes can taste of mostly salt with little else, which is why it pays to use higher-quality versions. Better Than Bouillon is your best bet for a bouillon paste that tastes like real stock, because, well, that's what it's actually made from.

When adding bouillon to meatballs, all you need to do is dissolve it in any liquid ingredients you are adding, or just a little water to make it easy to incorporate. Remember that bouillon is very concentrated, so a half teaspoon to one teaspoon per pound of meat is all you should need. Bouillon is also pretty salty, so cut back on the salt in other places to compensate.

There are a lot of great meatball recipes out there, so choose the bouillon that you feel compliments the overall meal best. While beef bouillon brings an extra meaty umami flavor, vegetable bouillon is a good option for lighter things like lamb meatballs with an herb dressing. Chicken bouillon can bring rich meatiness too, but would be better when your meatballs are a little more subtly flavored, like in Italian wedding soup. There isn't really a wrong answer for how to use bouillon with meatballs, as there are enough choices to work for any dish.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.