Every great soup starts with a stock, or a broth. While colloquially we might use the terms stock and broth interchangeability, there’s a technical difference between the two. Stock is made using bones. Broth is usually not.
The bones add a rich and strong flavor to soups. The “meat only” in broth makes for a blander result.
If you’re buying a prepared broth or stock, read the labels carefully. The distinction in many cases does not exist. Because broth has less flavor, it may have more additives like MSG and flavor concentrates. But stock can have these as well.
You should seek a low sodium option, as you can always add more salt at home.
Bonus: Chicken Stock Recipe
DIY chicken stock is easier than you think. Here’s a simple recipe that will yield about 12 cups of stock.
- 1 whole chicken (rinsed, patted dry, and then separated)
- 1 cup roughly chopped onion (no need to peel)
- 1 cup chopped carrot
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 pinch dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- 10 peppercorns (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 14 cups of water (3 1/2 quarts)
Combine all ingredients in stock pot and add water. Bring to a boil on high heat. Remove scum floating on top. Cook on low heat until the chicken is done (about 40 minutes). Strain into a large bowl and press on vegetables to get out as much stock. Refrigerate overnight so that you can remove the fat which will harden at the surface of the liquid.
1. If you’re making stock for future use, there’s still stuff to do with the leftover chicken meat. You can make chicken salad, stir fry or sandwiches.
2. Freeze excess stock in ice cube trays, small plastic containers or glass jars and add to rice dishes, stir fry or pasta sauce.