Magic Soup Base

A while back, I went to Germany. One evening, a friend invited me to dinner at her home. She served me a fabulously tasty soup and a week later, I was still thinking about it— it was that good. The soup was made of perfectly cooked carrots, peas, and egg noodles in a clear soup base. Simple! During our next visit, I asked if she could share the recipe. “It’s not a recipe,” she said. It’s just Maggi’s Klare Brühe — German for “clear broth” (I later learned Nestle owns the company). I asked to see the container of Klare Brühe and before I left for the states, I went to the grocery store and bought a few jars.

When I add Klare Brühe to my soups, stews, and sauces, they bloom; I get a big roasty, toasty, meaty, and savory flavor. The flavor comes on gradually and lingers. Klare Brühe is a powerful seasoning, potent and full of energy. This magic soup powder mysteriously intensifies the food without calling attention to itself. I can cook black beans, for example, in this soup base and they go from being ho-hum to stellar.

Eventually I ran out and much to my dismay, I could not find Klare Brühe anywhere, not even on the internet nor at the German grocery stores. Darn. A good friend had a son who was traveling to Germany on a student program and I asked him to bring some back for me. Eventually that supply ran out too.

Why not try to copy it? Good idea! I asked a friend of a friend who was fluent in German to translate the list of ingredients on the jar. But my several attempts to replicate the powder produced a “NQR” result, the acronym for “Not Quite Right”. Then recently, it occurred to me to look Klare Brühe up again on the internet and . . . drum roll . . . it was there! I ordered some. My being instantly filled with thousands of bubbles of happiness. I felt the excitement of reconnecting with a long lost friend who I wondered if I would ever see again.

Now the red and yellow jar sits in my herb and spice cabinet waiting to transform that next dish. Klare Brühe has magic powers and moves whatever it touches with grace —“potion magique” (other vegetable soup bases are just not the same). Recently, I went on a long road trip with my beau, taking Klare Brühe with me. We stopped at a roadside produce stand and I made the best vegetable soup ever for dinner that night. Klare Bruhe: simple, sophisticated, delightful, and just in time for the fall vegetable harvest. Available on Amazon.