Chicken broth is a flavored or seasoned liquid. It can either be eaten alone or can be used as a base for sauces and soups. It originated in Asia way back 25 centuries ago, when Chinese descents used chicken broth as a medicine. And, it is not to be confused with chicken stock, as chicken broth is primarily made with chicken meat while chicken stock is essentially made with chicken bones. In addition, chicken broth has a lesser mouthfeel and a thinner consistency than that of chicken stock. Chicken broths also take less time to make, so expect to have a comforting yet light taste.
Chicken Broth Trivia
- Chicken broth can go as low as 5 calories per serving.
- Chicken broth restores gut health, alleviates inflammation and joint pains, supports bone health, relieves allergies, cleanses the liver, boosts metabolism and antioxidant activity, and improves hair, skin, and nails.
- Chicken broth, including its byproducts chicken soup and chicken noodle soup, are all used as a natural medicine for colds and fever.
- Just like other bone broths, chicken broth can also be used as a bathing liquid. The practice remains to be known across Asia, Europe, and some parts of the United States. Bathing in warm chicken broth has been linked to hydrotherapy and can promote the overall wellness of a person.
- Bathing in and consuming chicken broth are also practiced in Asian midwifery. It has been said that chicken broths help in making the labor and birthing a lot easier.
Chicken Broth Buying Guide
While chicken broth is highly-suggested to be made at home, here are some tips when you can’t help but opt for the store-bought ones:
- Check out the sodium content. The product should have less than 500mg of sodium per serving. Or better yet, opt for no-salt-added, reduced-sodium, or low-sodium.
- Check out the ingredients list and make sure you’re reading chicken bones and chicken meat rather than bouillon cubes or chicken powder.
- Chicken broth should be clear yet a little wobbly when refrigerated. Otherwise, it indicates that the broth was watered down and the nutrients aren’t at its peak.
Chicken Broth Production & Farming in Texas
Chicken broth has been a significant part of the Tex-Mex cuisine. Not only that it is traditionally produced as a stand-alone food, but it is also used as a vital foundation for a variety of meals. A traditional Mexican rice is cooked in chicken broth, the Texas Wends cooks their noodles in it, a typical potato soup is crafted with the use of this liquid, and a round-up jambalaya calls for chicken broth as well. It is no wonder that it’s considerably easy to find chicken broth in large supermarkets such as H-E-B and Natural Grocers. However, the state of Texas also features countless numbers of farms and ranches that raise free-range poultries. You can have your chicken meat and bones delivered at your doorstep if you choose to make the broth at home. You may also visit the nearby farmers’ markets where they showcase local yet organic and high-quality products.
Pesticides, additives, and chemicals:
Additives and chemicals are unavoidable when it comes to commercially-prepared chicken broth. In line with that, we’ve gone through some large grocers and found the following ingredients:
- Sodium – Although sodium is a natural food that balances our body fluids, it can cause harm when consumed past its RDA.
- MSG – Monosodium Glutamate is used to enhance the flavor of almost any product. It is the one responsible for creating that umami flavor. Although it is generally classified as safe to consume, it can cause headaches, flushing, palpitations, sweating, nausea, numbness, and weakness to some people. It allegedly can cause asthma, brain damages, and even cancer; however, these allegations remained controversial.
- Yeast extracts – These are added as a flavor enhancer and possesses the same side effects just like MSG. You may want to avoid products with these ingredients especially if you have blood pressure problems or sodium-related concerns.
- Artificial chicken flavor or artificial chicken seasoning – Although there’s no evidence that this ingredient is harmful to anyone’s health, this flavor enhancer and preservative is commonly produced with some chemicals rather than actual meat. It has been allegedly claimed that it can cause allergic reactions.
Chicken broths are packaged in many different ways. For commercially-produced ones, it can come in either screw-cap cartons, gable-top cartons, cans, or pouches. Chicken broths are also packaged in the form of powder and cube, as commercial restaurants find it more convenient to store these broths in its solid form. For local artisan producers, broths are packaged in a mason jar.
Enjoying Chicken Broth
Although noodles are commonly added to the broth for a hearty dinner, chicken broth is just like any other bone broth; you can make stuffing, sauces, dips, marinades, and stews out of it. You can even use it to cook your starches: rice, cauliflower rice, pastas, mashed potatoes, and alike.
Commercial chicken broths, if it isn’t in its powder or cube form, can be stored in the freezer for a year. Once opened, it should be transferred to the refrigerator and it needs to be consumed within 7 days. Homemade chicken broths, packaged in mason jars or air-tight containers, can be kept in the freezer for 3 months and can be refrigerated for 3-5 days. Just a little chef tip, if you’d like to save on some space, you can reduce your broths by half, pour them in some ice cube trays, and freeze them. It lasts longer and at the same time, it’s easier to get just how much you need – you don’t have to thaw the whole batch every time you’re going to use your broth. Since the flavor is more concentrated by this time, you may choose to add some more water when you reheat or cook it, especially when you’re turning them into a soup.
Make your own chicken broth:
While chicken broth takes a while to cook, usually 4-6 hours, it is relatively easy to make and can be prepared in less than 15 minutes. You don’t need to be staring at the stove for the next 4-6 hours, but you just need to be at home while your broth is cooking, since you need to skim it from time to time. For added caramelized meat flavor, you may opt to sear or roast the chicken prior simmering. Here is an easy recipe of chicken broth:
Yield: 3 quarts
- 4 lbs whole chicken
- Mirepoix (2 large onions, 1 large carrot, 2 celery stalks, all cut in 2-inch sizes) Note: If you are to alter the recipe, just remember that Mirepoix is 50% onion, 25% carrots, and 25% celery.
- Sachet d’épices (10 garlic cloves, 2 bay leaves, 2 tbsp peppercorns, tsp of thyme, and tsp parsley stem that are placed in a tied cheesecloth or sachet)
- 1 tbsp of acid (apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, etc.)
- Place all ingredients in a stockpot. Add cold water until it covers all the ingredients.
- Simmer uncovered over low heat for 4-6 hours. The longer time you cook it the more flavorful your chicken broth will be.
- Keep removing the scums (the froth that floats on top) from time to time and keep adding cold water to make sure that the bones and meat are fully submerged.
- When done, let it cool slightly and strain the broth using a cheesecloth. Meanwhile, you may use the chicken meat for soups, salads, or other recipes, and you may opt to reduce your chicken broth like previously mentioned. Just make sure to cool it down to room temperature before you store or package it.