Although it may never taste as rich and complex as homemade chicken broth, store-bought chicken broth is certainly easier. Truthfully, even ambitious home cooks rely on a box or two of store-bought chicken broth for those quick weeknight dinners where they just need to whip something up in a flash and haven't had the time to watch chicken bones slowly simmer for hours for bone broth. Unfortunately, however, chicken broth from the supermarket can sometimes flatten a dish with its uniform flavor.
That is, unless you know how to doctor it up to trick your taste buds. Need some suggestions on how to make your broth more artisanal? Here are five.
Note: If you have the time, low simmer any of these add-ins with the broth for 15 minutes before adding your other soup ingredients. If you really don't have the time to cook, feel free to toss them directly into the soup pot, but don't forget to remove them before serving.
1. Dried Mushrooms
Dried mushrooms have a lot going on in the umami department and can help make a really great stock. Their earthy flavor goes wonderfully with chicken and vegetables. Plus, you don't even necessarily have to remove them from your broth. Simply add the rest of the ingredients and continue cooking.
This is definitely a great add-in if you don't have time to infuse the chicken broth before hand. Additionally, a bay leaf with the mushrooms bring out their flavors even more, simply strain stock to remove.
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For a similar reason that you would use mushrooms, you can also use kombu (seaweed) in your chicken broth or semi-homemade chicken stock. Kombu is a staple in the dashi rule book because of its ability to transfer a umami-rich, savory flavor to whatever it is steeped in.
Plus it is loaded with glutamic acid, which will give mouthfeel in addition to flavor to your broth, like it came from a real roasted chicken in a large pot.
3. Parmesan Rinds
Never, ever waste the rind of a nice parmesan. That's like throwing away money! Instead, toss it into your soup to add a unique dimension of nuttiness and creamy mouth feel.
It's like having the flavor of parmesan without the cheesy texture. This is an addition that would be delicious in the slow cooker on low heat for a few hours for deliciously rich golden stock.
4. Bouquet Garni
An ancient French secret, popping a bouquet garni into your stock will immediately infuse it with tendrils of complex flavor. A bouquet garni is simply a bundle of herbs tied together with kitchen twine and submerged into a stock pot.
There is no set combination of herbs, however, often bay leaves, fresh thyme, parsley, peppercorns, and garlic cloves are used to blend in a satisfying foundational flavor. For chicken stock, you can also add in a few leek tops to give a light, oniony flavor.
5. White Wine
White wine adds so much body to both soups and sauces. Especially if you are planning a rich, creamy soup, a splash of wine will introduce some much-needed acidity to the mix in the large stock pot.
Pick a white that doesn't have too much acid or oaking, however. Try a Chablis or a French Sauvignon Blanc.