Michael Ruhlman--cookbook author, blogger, and Cleveland cheerleader extraordinaire--once made me promise I'd never, under any circumstances, use canned or boxed chicken stock again. He claimed water was just as good a substitute, if not better. Why? He blogged all about it here. Basically, he thinks canned stocks taste like creek water. Have you ever tasted canned chicken stock straight? I have and let's just say that Ruhlman makes a very good point.
I'm pretty good about making my own chicken stock and having a few pints of it in the fridge at any given time. Still, as my colleague Amy Albert points out below, there's often no time to make the homemade stuff. In its place, Albert recommends five alternatives...none of them water. Over the next several weeks I plan to give each a try. I wonder what Ruhlman would say?
Good chicken broth is the foundation of many great dishes, but sometimes there's no time to make homemade. When cooking soups, risottos, and stews at home, even pros use ready-made broth or stock (for home cooking, the terms are interchangeable). But because many store-bought chicken broths taste salty, wimpy, or just plain fake, it's important to be selective. Here are five flavorful options--good returns guaranteed.
1. More Than Gourmet Glace de Poulet Gold Classic Roasted Chicken Stock
When mixed with hot water, this paste becomes a full-flavored broth that tastes like roasted dark meat. Start with a tablespoon per 1 1/2 cups of water; adjust to taste. $28.50 for a 16-ounce tub (makes 10 2/3 quarts); 800-596-0885; chefshop.com
2. Swanson Certified Organic Chicken Broth
This is a reliable all-purpose broth, with clean flavor that's not too salty. When tasted blind,
Swanson beat out the other boxed brands--and it's the one used regularly in the Bon Appetit
Test Kitchen. $3.69 for a 1-quart carton at most supermarkets; $37.81 for 12 cartons at amazon.com
3. Savory Choice Liquid Chicken Broth Concentrate
These small packets of liquid concentrate get big points for convenience. Even better, they're full of clean chicken flavor and are as handy for an emergency cup of chicken broth as they are for giving soup or stock a lift. $7 for 12 packets (each makes 1 cup); 323-939-1148; cubemarketplace.com
4. Perfect Addition Unsalted Chicken Stock
Use it straight from the tub--this frozen stock needs no diluting, and has a flavor that's light
and pure. Great in pilaf or risotto, where it's best to use a mild broth that won't overwhelm the other flavors in the dish. $6.35 for a 16-ounce tub (2 cups); 877-641-2661; culinarydistrict.com
5. Better than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base
The flavor is good and the jar is convenient, but this liquid concentrate tastes best when diluted with more water than the package advises. Start with a scant teaspoon per cup of hot water; adjust to taste. $6.79 for an 8-ounce jar (makes 9 1/2 quarts); 888-272-8775; wellnessgrocer.com
- Learn More About Chicken Stock
- Watch a Video on How to Make Chicken Stock
- Watch a Video on How to Make Vegetable Stock
- 17 Healthy and Heart Soups and Stews
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