Have you been here before? Here you are, happily working through a chicken soup recipe. You’ve chopped, diced, and even cooked your chicken in advance. You get to the point in the recipe where it calls for chicken stock and panic. Oh No! You don’t have chicken stock, but you do have broth and bouillon. Are they interchangeable? Will it still taste good? What’s the difference?
Let’s take a look at the differences between stock, broth, consommé and bouillon and even learn a few tips when making them yourself.
Chicken broth is basically the leftover ingredient from cooking. For example, if you cook a chicken, the drippings and juices in the pan are the broth. However, if you’re buying it at the store, rather than making it yourself, then broth is generally made from the meat. It has a much milder flavor than chicken stock and is often used as a base for other items such soups, sauces and gravy. If you’re using chicken broth to make your soup, make sure to add a lot of other ingredients like onions, garlic, herbs and spices to boost the flavor.
If you’re making broth yourself, you simmer the chicken meat in water. It doesn’t generally need to be cooked as long as chicken stock because you don’t have to pull the flavor from the bones, just the meat. However, you also may not want to keep the meat from the broth because it could end up dry and flavorless.
Chicken stock is made from cooking chicken bones and the less tasty parts of the chicken. You can use the neck, giblets, wings, etc. Sometimes I even throw in a package of chicken thighs for even more flavor. Chicken stock also involves cooking vegetables along with the chicken parts. It simmers for quite a long time. You can cook chicken stock for five to six hours. Chicken stock is quite flavorful and is a better base for soup. The next time you roast a chicken (or even have a store-bought rotisserie chicken), keep the bones, skin, and undesirable parts. Put them in a freezer bag and collect them until you have enough to make stock.
Chicken bouillon is the French term for chicken broth. However, you can also buy bouillon at your local grocery store. It often comes in cubes, as a powder or even a refrigerated paste. If you’ve ever tasted bouillon then you know that it’s usually quite salty. It’s made by dehydrating vegetables, meat stock, a little bit of fat and a lot of salt and seasonings and shaping it all into a small cube. Whenever you dehydrate something the flavors are intensified. It’s a great substitute for stock if you don’t have any at home. Just take care to taste your soup before you add any salt, pepper, or other seasonings.
Chicken consommé is a refined chicken stock. You make the stock, strain it to remove any debris, and continue cooking. Consommé is a clarified and concentrated stock. To make consommé you add ground chicken meat and vegetables to stock (instead of water), and cook it for several hours. It takes a lot of meat to make a very small amount of consommé. However, the result is delicious and is often enjoyed as is without any additional ingredients.
So the next time you’re cooking and realize you don’t have any chicken broth, no worries. You can use chicken bouillon, stock or consommé as a substitute. Simply make sure to taste your soup as you go, go light on the salt initially and remember that you may need to add spices or water to adjust the flavors to your liking.
Never worry about what's for dinner again. I've got you covered with the meal plans in the Once a Week Cooking Club. Cook once, eat all week.
Please be aware that some links used are to affiliates. They are almost always to products I use and love.