Saturday, December 13, 2008

Product Review: Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base

Truly, there is nothing like a homemade chicken stock or broth. It fills the room with the smell of home and holidays, and when I debone some chicken, I always throw the bones in a pot with some water, carrots and celery and a bay leaf.

However, there are many times when I need just a little broth for another dish or some extra flavor in a dish that already has enough liquid. That's when I reach for Better than Bouillon, a concentrated chicken stock base. I first used concentrated soup base when I was cooking at a bistro/coffee shop. It's a restaurant staple, even in supposedly high-end joints. No, it doesn't have the same flavor of homemade, but it's a lot better than the pre-made cans or cartons of stock in the store, which are a waste of time, money and space. It is a bit too heavy on the celery and vegetal notes to use in a noodle soup or something, but in most recipes you won't notice.

The same company makes an absurd number of other flavors. The vegetable soup base is nasty, but I may try their "vegan chicken" or mushroom bases for vegetarian recipes. I am interested in/terrified of the lobster base.

Frugal Factor: One $4 jar makes 41 cups of broth, or $0.10/serving. Ready-to-use "College Inn" Chicken Broth is $3 for 4 cups (32 oz), or $0.75/serving, and is nasty to boot. Of course, making your own from the remnants of a roast chicken or other unused bones and stuff is free, and better, if you have the time.

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