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Prepared Chicken Stock - What's in Your Pantry?


Shel_B
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Many of us use boxed, canned, or otherwise prepared stock in our cooking, at least some of the time. I don't make my own as much as I used to so I've taken to using boxed stock in some recipes. After looking and trying various brands, I've settled on Costco's Kirkland Organic Chicken Stock. It's fat free, relatively low salt, and contains no ingredients that are difficult to pronounce or for which a chemist's dictionary is needed to understand.

It's a little rich for much of what I use it for, so I often dilute it with filtered water. It works fine for my needs.

What prepared stocks do you use? What do you like about it? Is it readily available or do you have to order it online or mail order?

Just curious ....

 ... Shel


 

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Low sodium Swanson's, both beef and chicken. Use them for rice, couscous, some pastas, instant potatoes (hangs head in shame) and the like. Quick, easy and not too expensive. Also good for braises.

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I buy the pints of B0010ON2AK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B0010ON2AK&linkCode=as2&tag=egulletcom-20">this off amazon... I don't usually use it for soups, but I'll add it to braises, vegetables, and sauces. I find it's the closest thing to having actual homemade reduced stock around. I don't recall if I can tell a difference between their demi-glace and their normal roasted chicken stock, and I lost the label on the one I have now!

It's pretty expensive in normal stores, but $18-20 a pound doesn't feel bad to me... a little goes a long way.

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That's not really the point of Shel's question. Many of us don't have pressure cookers, and don't have access to buck a pound chickens, even at the Asian supermarket (I fall under both). Sometimes you don't need a soup's worth of stock - When I make mapo doufu, for example, I have no compulsion against using a pre-made stock.

Shel, to answer your q: I typically go for the TJ's organic, free range stock, at $2 a litre. I like that is organic and free range, and cheap!

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I buy the pints of B0010ON2AK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B0010ON2AK&linkCode=as2&tag=egulletcom-20">this off amazon... I don't usually use it for soups, but I'll add it to braises, vegetables, and sauces. I find it's the closest thing to having actual homemade reduced stock around. I don't recall if I can tell a difference between their demi-glace and their normal roasted chicken stock, and I lost the label on the one I have now!

It's pretty expensive in normal stores, but $18-20 a pound doesn't feel bad to me... a little goes a long way.

I just had a look at this on Amazon. I like that it doesn't have any odd stuff in it. Can you tell me what the typical shelf life is? And is the chicken one the only one you use? Thanks!

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I am curious to see how a boxed chicken stock's final results would compare to plain old tap water. If I don't have stock, I just use salted water with a little bay for the most part.

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When I make ramen noodles, I use real stock, not the flavor package that comes with the noodle, but I save the flavor packages to use when I don't have stock for a recipe.

Those packages taste better than canned stock.

dcarch

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I am curious to see how a boxed chicken stock's final results would compare to plain old tap water. If I don't have stock, I just use salted water with a little bay for the most part.

A number of chefs and cooks of note, are using water in their soups more often these days. And why not - it's cheap, readily available, and in many cases was used in soups, stews, braises, etc., before stock became popular. The "cleaner" taste of water allows some of the subtleties of vegetables to shine through.

FWIW, I make Gordon Ramsey's broccoli soup, Bertolli's cauliflower soup, Caldo Verde, and a Bouchon-style onion soup using only water, as well as a long time favorite, L’Aïgo Boulido. Usually there's no stock in my vegetable soups either.

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 ... Shel


 

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When I make ramen noodles, I use real stock, not the flavor package that comes with the noodle, but I save the flavor packages to use when I don't have stock for a recipe.

Those packages taste better than canned stock.

dcarch

Yup, I sometimes do that as well.

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 ... Shel


 

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I'm a vegetarian, so, at home I make and use vegetable stock or water. I disagree with Ruhlman on a lot of issues, including food safety, but, I really like THIS blog post of his on water.

I use water a lot, it gives a clean pure flavor. I also add herbs and vegetables to it. For example, if I make a packet of ramen, I don't use the flavor packet that comes with it. I'll slice a little bit of onion and a mushroom paper thin, and add them at the start of heating the water along with some salt and a dash of dark soy sauce. By the time the water is boiling, a nice broth has started forming. I usually also toss a small handful of frozen (or fresh) green beans and a little frozen spinach (plus random fresh veg) in at the end of cooking the noodles. I also make risotto with water.

I save vegetable scraps in my freezer until I have a couple of pounds and then make stock. I freeze the stock in square or rectangular shaped containers, including ice cube trays, overnight then I pop them out and vacuum seal them in bags. I've usually got some ice cubes of stock (a couple tbs each) and maybe a block of a cup or two handy, in addition to quarts for soup making. I try to consistently make a mixed veg one, and also make single flavor ones with particular soups or dishes in mind -like carrot for carrot soup and celery for my 'green rice.'

I do have carnivore friends who save meat scraps, chicken and turkey carcasses, necks and backbones, etc. in their freezer and then make stock when convenient. I know one person who makes it in the oven for about 4 hours on the lowest setting after baking something else and thereby mostly using energy that would be wasted; apparently the oven doesn't run much except a little bit at the end.

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I make stock for certain things, but always have some box stuff on hand. I just don't have the freezer space to store a lot of stock. I used to get the box stock from Costco but those are not available here. I get whatever it is they have at Aldi now, which is somehow related to TJs.

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ygabuse3.jpg

I use two brands usually-- the left. pacific Foods organic's. Usually the low sodium types, what I like of them also they make 8 oz..one servings stuff, I'll add to dishes..since it is smaller. Left is a low sodium beef broth

The other. ( rt )-- brand is Kitchen Basics, this is original veal stock

I have tons of homemade-- but this is what u asked for

Edited by Paul Bacino (log)
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Recently I started keeping either Swanson's or Knorr's concentrated broth on hand. Since I started making my own stock some years ago, I've become very sensitive to salt, and most of the commercial offerings are now unpleasant to me. The concentrates seem to have the taste i want, and work well as an extender when my own stock is in short supply.

I've also used the Demi-glace gold products. Very good, but never found any way to get it other than mail order, so nothing I can have on short notice.

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I just had a look at this on Amazon. I like that it doesn't have any odd stuff in it. Can you tell me what the typical shelf life is? And is the chicken one the only one you use? Thanks!

Yep - the ingredient list is one of the things I like about it. I've kept it around for a few months without a problem in the fridge, though I'm careful about using very clean utensils with it. I presume you could get roughly infinite shelf life by portioning it out and freezing it.

I've never tried anything but the chicken, because it's the most versatile in my mind. I usually see the small containers (1.5 oz, perhaps) of it in slightly upscale stores... if you try some of the others, I'd love to hear how they are!

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I throw chicken scraps/carcasses, etc., into the freezer and, when I have enough, make stock. I condense the stock as far down as I dare without risking burning, then pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze. Put the frozen cubes into zip lock bags where they take up very little space.

However, I do always like to keep some commercial stock of some sort on hand as well. More than once, I've gone to my ziplock bag of frozen concentrated chicken stock to discover I'm nearly out.

For use in Mexican dishes, I usually have the Knorr's "Caldo de Pollo" powder, which has some annatto in it: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001J8V54M/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_2?pf_rd_p=1535523722&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B007ZEKR3Y&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1EMCM8A6KDGTQAMP3E63

And some Chicken Base Paste: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00415IRQO/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_3?pf_rd_p=1535523722&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B000EZIEG8&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1BTYGWZXZ5Q37BDSWD8C

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When I make ramen noodles, I use real stock, not the flavor package that comes with the noodle, but I save the flavor packages to use when I don't have stock for a recipe.

Those packages taste better than canned stock.

dcarch

Aren't they super sodium filled?

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When I make ramen noodles, I use real stock, not the flavor package that comes with the noodle, but I save the flavor packages to use when I don't have stock for a recipe.

Those packages taste better than canned stock.

dcarch

Aren't they super sodium filled?

Yes, but for some of us that's not an issue…. I also save those little bouillon packets from the noodles for times when my rice needs that extra boost.

Otherwise, I use either stock I've made myself (there are always jars of it in the fridge) or water, because the kind of thing Shel's asking about isn't available in Ecuador. I also use a brand of very clean (i.e. no MSG or long-string chemicals) powdered bouillon called Caldo Ranchero for when I don't have ramen flavour packets....

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This afternoon I had a craving for Beef Stroganoff from scratch, and far more time than money to spend available.

I also was reading this thread, and followed some of the links promoting water over prepared stock (homemade or commercial).

So, I tried an experiment. Instead of using a can of stock from the pantry, I started some water to simmer before I started prepping, and tossed the offcuts of each ingredient there as I went (the beef trimmings, the mushroom stalks, the onion skins/root, the garlic skins/roots. etc.) By the time everything was sauteed in sequence and deglazed with wine, the "stock" was noticeably dark, flavorful, and useful. I put most of it in the pan to reduce for the sauce, tossed the solids that I would have tossed in any case, and added water to the remainder for boiling the pasta.

All in all, a very successful experiment. Tasty sauce, well flavored pasta, little waste, no extra money spent or extra effort in premaking a large volume of homemade beefbroth.

I think I'll try the same process next time that I'm cooking something that involves a fair amount of prep-work - gumbo comes to mind as perfect for this, since I try to have EVERYTHING diced up before I even start the roux. All those scraps of chicken, sausage, and the trinity could be simmering away making a dish-specific stock while I was stirring the roux!

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This afternoon I had a craving for Beef Stroganoff from scratch, and far more time than money to spend available.

I also was reading this thread, and followed some of the links promoting water over prepared stock (homemade or commercial).

So, I tried an experiment. Instead of using a can of stock from the pantry, I started some water to simmer before I started prepping, and tossed the offcuts of each ingredient there as I went (the beef trimmings, the mushroom stalks, the onion skins/root, the garlic skins/roots. etc.) By the time everything was sauteed in sequence and deglazed with wine, the "stock" was noticeably dark, flavorful, and useful. I put most of it in the pan to reduce for the sauce, tossed the solids that I would have tossed in any case, and added water to the remainder for boiling the pasta.

All in all, a very successful experiment. Tasty sauce, well flavored pasta, little waste, no extra money spent or extra effort in premaking a large volume of homemade beefbroth.

I think I'll try the same process next time that I'm cooking something that involves a fair amount of prep-work - gumbo comes to mind as perfect for this, since I try to have EVERYTHING diced up before I even start the roux. All those scraps of chicken, sausage, and the trinity could be simmering away making a dish-specific stock while I was stirring the roux!

Excellent idea! Thanks for posting that ...

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 ... Shel


 

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I did a blog post product review on this topic but as I'm based in Australia it relates to our brands. What was interesting was all the manufacturers I contacted told me their liquid products were their powder concentrates with water added. So given the energy footprint to store and move cartons compared to powders we use powder and add our own liquid.

http://www.theculinarylibrary.com/category/by-ingredient/stock/

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