Chicken Stock Vs. Chicken Soup

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While the gourmet members of the jury may have trouble agreeing on the differences between chicken stock and chicken broth, there is no question that there is a difference between chicken stock and chicken soup. Well, maybe just a small question, since chicken stock, or broth, may be served as a clear chicken soup.

Chicken Stock

  • Chicken stock is made with the bones of the chicken. The bones add richness and body to the liquid but not a lot of flavor. The slow cooking extracts gelatin from the bones. If you refrigerate chicken stock it will firm up. Vegetables may be added to the stock as well as herbs but salt is not. The stock is sometimes reduced -- boiled down to concentrate the texture and flavor. That reduction would be too salty. Stock is used to deglaze a pan after cooking and as a basis for sauces, as well as soups and stews.

Chicken Consomme Soup

  • Consomme is reduced strained chicken stock simmered with finely diced vegetables and ground chicken meat. Egg whites beaten to a froth are added to the stock to clarify the broth. After 60 minutes the soup is removed from the heat and strained. Consomme may be served cold which highlights its jelly-like texture.

Chicken Broth

  • Broth is made from chicken meat and skin, with herbs and vegetables added for flavor. The ingredients are simmered for two hours to extract all the flavor. The broth is strained to remove the spent herbs and vegetables. The meat may be removed as well, since most of its flavor is left in the broth. Salt and pepper are usually added to chicken broth.

Chicken Combo Recipe

  • Home cooks will use bones, meat, skin, vegetables and herbs when making chicken broth/stock. A simple recipe for chicken broth/stock includes a whole chicken cut up into pieces, large onion cut in half, two large carrots, four large celery stalks, two bay leaves and a good handful of parsley. Add a clove of garlic if you like the taste. Put all the ingredients into a pot with at least eight cups of water. Add more, if necessary, so the chicken is covered by at least an inch of water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for four hours, some recipes specifying six hours if you want to extract every bit of gelatin from the bones. If you want the chicken broth/stock to have a rich golden color, brown the chicken pieces in a hot oven, 425 F for 20 minutes. Adding a few yellow onion skins will do the same thing.

Chicken Soup

  • Technically, both chicken stock and broth are chicken soup, although some cooks will argue that chicken stock made with only the bones and not chicken meat, isn't flavorful enough to be served as soup. In any case, when you think of chicken soup, you probably think of more than a clear, or nearly clear, soup. Both stock and broth are used as the base for rich chicken soups. Additional vegetables and herbs are used as well as beans, noodles and rice. Good chicken stock or broth is the basis for great chicken soup. A quick recipe includes 4 cups of chicken stock or broth, the chopped meat from two raw chicken breasts, 2 cups of chopped vegetables of your choice, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Add 1 cup of cooked, rice, pasta or beans for a heartier chicken soup.

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