I thought it might be good to share a little about what sort of pantry ingredients I use when I cook.
Stocks – chicken , beef, vegetable etc. are pantry or freezer staples. I use them often when making soups, stews, sauces, and even in dry dishes that need some “moisture. The most common stock I use is chicken stock. Growing up, my mother rarely, if ever made her own chicken stock. She usually just used chicken stock cubes or granules. Living alone in Montreal, I also used stock cubes until the hubs introduced me to concentrate. Concentrate tasted a lot better (at least many brands do) and in some cases, was a much healthier alternative to cubes. As such, I made the switch to concentrate. I used Trader Joe’s chicken stock concentrate and loved it. It wasn’t too salty and had a great taste. However, when it came to beef and vegetable stock, I either bought the ready made stuff or cubes.
A couple of months ago, I discovered Better Than Bouillon at Costco. We always passed it at the spice aisle but one day decided to give it a shot as it was much more economical to buy than the numerous packets of Trader Joe’s concentrate and packets of beef/vegetable stock.
Verdict? We LOVED it. The concentrate produced a clean and delicious tasting broth that wasn’t too salty. The best part is the ingredients in the organic range were natural and had no added MSG.
I now have a bottle each of the chicken, beef and vegetable stock and have been using it in my cooking for the past few months.
Do I make my own chicken/beef/veg stock? Sometimes. I still save the bones from roast chickens or if I am de-boning a chicken before use. When the bag of bones gets full, I make some stock. However, I usually reserve homemade stock for dishes where the chicken stock is the star. A good example would be matzo ball soup. The same goes for beef stock. I have never made vegetable stock from scratch. One of the reasons why I don’t really make stock from scratch unless necessary is because it takes up precious space in my freezer – space I need for the other 101 things I freeze like butter, bread, quick meals, etc. I also still have some stock cubes on hand when cooking for large crowds. But I rarely use them now.
You can purchase Better than Bouillon at Whole Foods, Costco (some Costcos might not carry it), and online (Amazon carries it). Do note that I would only buy the organic version as the non-organic version has some stuff added to it that I don’t agree with…stuff I can’t really pronounce.