What Is Chicken Base? Facts Every Cook Needs To Know
Most chicken soup, stew, casserole, sauce and gravy recipes call for a chicken flavoring. Chicken base enhances the flavor of chicken dishes. Incidentally, so does chicken bouillon, broth and stock. I have cooked a good number of chicken dishes and each time a chicken base, bouillon, broth or stock is an ingredient.
Confusing though is the fact that some chicken dishes require a chicken base while some would require chicken broth, or stock or bouillon. I am pretty sure you too have the same observation. All of this chicken flavorings can be either home-made or bought in the supermarket.
I was once watching a cooking show and the recipe called for chicken base. While it was mentioned that chicken stock, broth or bouillon could be used, the cook specifically said that chicken base brings out the best flavor of the chicken. My question now is, how is chicken base better than chicken stock, broth or bouillon?
What Is Chicken Stock?
There seems to always be a lot of confusion between chicken stock and chicken broth. Although both are made with the same vegetables, chicken stock is usually made with the bones of the chicken while chicken broth is made more with the meaty parts.
Chicken stock has a richer flavor than chicken broth because when chicken bones are left to simmer for a long time, gelatin gets released. Gelatin in chicken stock offers a lot of health benefits and a lot of flavors, too!
If you want your chicken stock to gel, you need to add the right proportions of water and chicken bones. The amount of water should just be enough to cover chicken bones in the stock pot.
Since chicken stock is made from bones, it will have a deeper and richer flavor than chicken broth. Bones breaking down in the simmering process produces more flavor and will make the liquid gel when it gets cooled.
Although the commercial chicken stock is available in the market, the home-made chicken stock is more cost effective not to mention richer and deeper in flavor.
What Is Chicken Broth?
Chicken broth is chicken meat allowed to simmer with vegetables into a liquid. Chicken broth is often referred to as flavored chicken stock. To make chicken stock, boil chicken meat in water with carrots, celery, and herbs and allow the mixture to simmer.
Although chicken meat is the main ingredient in chicken broth, a few chicken bones can add to its flavor.
What Is Chicken Bouillon?
Chicken bouillon is a chicken stock allowed to dehydrate and formed into a cube. Bouillon is a French term that means broth. Bouillon is a salty cube so it is best that you choose those that come with low salt content. Of all the commercially made chicken flavors, bouillon is the easiest to use.
Back to my question: Why is chicken base better than chicken stock, broth or bouillon? Between chicken stock, broth and bouillon, I would say chicken stock brings out the best flavors of the chicken.
When boiled and simmered, chicken bones have richer flavors than chicken meat (broth). Well, chicken bouillon is simply chicken stock in another form, so I am narrowing down the comparison between chicken base and chicken stock.
There are a lot of arguments why chicken base is better than chicken stock. Here are some of them:
- Chicken base is allowed to boil and simmer a lot longer than chicken stock therefore it has a richer flavor and a thicker consistency.
- Chicken base appears darker than chicken stock. This is because chicken base is more concentrated than chicken stock.
- Chicken base is best for stews, casseroles, gravy and sauces while chicken stock is best for soups and chowders. These makes chicken base more versatile since it can also be used for soups and chowders.
Whether home-made or bought from the supermarket, chicken stock, broth and bouillon are good substitutes for chicken base. Home-made is also far better than the ones that are commercially made. That is of course if you have the time.
If you have the time, it is best that you make chicken base. It takes only a few hours more to make than chicken stock but the difference in time will be well compensated by the richer flavor it will give to your chicken dishes. It always does to mine.