When a recipe calls for “chicken stock” what do you use? Of course, homemade is best, but I rarely have the time for such things and I’m thinking, same for you. So, let’s talk about the options you have at the grocery store.
As tempting as it may be to treat stock or broth as an interchangeable commodity item, it really does matter which brand you choose. As with most ingredients, my advice is: taste it. If you don’t like it plain, you are not going to like what it does to your butternut squash soup. And you worked so hard chopping and cooking. Don’t blow it all with a nasty broth. You’re better off using water.
Ok. So what’s good? I have my preferences, and while going through a stack of back issues of Cook’s Illustrated over winter break, I discovered that they agree! For chicken, my favorites are Swanson (cans or boxes, “chicken broth”), Better Than Bouillon (which has the benefit of being a small jar you can store in the fridge; 1 teaspoon + 1 cup hot water = broth!), and Imagine in the 32 ounce box.
For veggie broth, my favorite is to dissolve a bouillon cube in a cup of boiling water – Rapunzel is very good. Cooks Illustrated reports that Herb Ox has “big veggie-ness; lots of carrots and celery” and that Better Than Bouillon (vegetable) is “nicely flavored and salty”. Go with any of those. The 32 ounce boxes and other brands are just not worth hauling home from the store, in my opinion.
Now, on to some cooking! Why not use your favorite stock/broth to make some Winter Squash Soup?!