Better to use a canned chicken broth or bouillon in chicken soup? Brand recs?
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I prefer boxed stock/broth and the most important thing to do is check the sodium content. You want to control the amount of salt that goes into chicken soup so definitely look for low sodium. I like Trader Joe's low sodium (70 mg of sodium) brand and Costco also has a lower sodium broth that tastes great. Good luck!! Some of the major brands have 700 mg or more.
Sorry if I sound a tad snotty, but why, if you're making chicken soup, would you need chicken broth or bouillon? Are you not using chicken?
Canned or boxed broth. Bouillon cubes are salt bombs. As llskibum says, Trader Joe's boxed low sodium broth is excellent, as is Swanson Natural Goodness or Certified Organic broths. They're also both reduced sodium. The Swanson has the advantage of being more widely available (at chain grocery stores) and also coming in cans as well as the quart boxes.
The other option, and one I use when I need only a small amount of chicken/beef broth, is a product called "Better Than Bouillon". It's a paste in a jar that you can measure out according to your needs (1 teaspoon per cup of water), like bouillon cubes. Once you've opened it, it needs to be refrigerated, but it keeps there for up to 2 years. The normal product is less sodium than bouillon cubes, and they also offer both organic and lower sodium versions. It's a good product when you only need a splash of broth, and don't want to open a can or a quart box.
Just say NO to the cubes, though ! ;-)
As RobertaJ says, watch for the salt content. I use cartons of chicken stock/broth. but not when cooking chicken soup. For chicken soup I use chicken, water, carrots, celery, onion, etc., and make my own. Otherwise, I use Swanson reduced sodium, and Swanson chicken broth, which is a little hardier and also more expensive. Sometimes I use Whole Foods brand.
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Unlike beef or veal stock which can take all day to make, an acceptable chicken stock can be made in about three hours. If you don't have that much time I do like the Wolfgang Puck boxed stocks which have a richness in flavor that most others lack. Some are downright bad and barely taste like chicken. Bouillon cubes have a place in your kitchen (or your car) because they don't take up much space. Handy to have if you are fixing dinner in your hotel room.
I think Better than Bouillon is a great product. I haven't tried all the flavors but have been satisfied with the chicken, beef, and veggie. I make quick soups all the time with it. Easier than lugging boxes of broth home and then having to use it all up quickly. And much faster than trying to find time to make stock.
I make homemade chicken stock, but when I'm in a hurry, only need a little bit, or have run out, Orrington Farms is my go-to; it's a jar of semi-solid, semi-powder that you mix up a teaspoon to a cup of water. It IS way high in sodium, though (660 mg per serving!), and you can taste the salt, so I generally cut that down and use 3/4 of a teaspoon.
I agree w betteirene- If you are making chicken soup, why do you need flavored broth? Throw some celery, carrots, chicken on the bone, onions, salt and pepper, and maybe some dill or rosemary, garlic etc. in the pot and it's soup!.Put the onions in the pot with their skin on and your soup will take on a beautiful golden color.
Betteirene and iuzzini have my sentiments and my heart on this subject. Allthough I do agree with Mr. P on the use of cubes! Chicken on the bone for soup!
I agree with those who voted for just throwing some chicken in the pot. My family recipe is a whole cut up chicken, onions, leeks, parsnips, carrots, celery, salt and a lot of pepper. Cover those things in water, turn up the heat, and wait a few hours.
The only part of the process that requires any effort is removing the chicken bones from the pot. Use some tongs, and let the pieces cool for a few minutes before removing any still attached meat.
I've tried to make broth from a chicken and it always tastes like hot water!
A couple of things about a good chicken stock. Unless you are going to roast or brown the chicken first, remove as much skin as possible with your hands. Bring the pot to a simmer not a boil, as in a few bubbles should start showing up. Skim fat and foams as they come up. When it's done strain through a fine sieve lined with cheese cloth. For the broth itself it's even better if you refrigerate over night in a sealed container. Any residual fat can be scraped off the top in the morning and you should have a nice jelly belly, jiggling stock to work with. Store the chicken flesh separately for soup or other uses.
Yes, will certainly keep an eye on the salt content...I'm a big Trader Joe's fan, so I will give their product a try as well as the better than bouillon. As for preparing my own stock, I've had the same results as Reen! However, with all your great pointers here, I may brave another attempt. As a first time poster here, I'm touched by your generosity. Thanks all!