Friday, February 10, 2012

Food Plug: Better than Bouillon

You may have noticed that I have been making a lot of soups and using a lot of broth. This is not uncommon--I used to have to buy cartons of chicken broth every time I went to the grocery store! I’ve found these broth cartons lacking in flavor, expensive and total pantry hogs. Growing up on traditional bouillon cubes, I loved the freedom of adding as much or as little flavoring as I wanted—but that freedom comes with a price: high sodium and MSG. Then I found the best thing since sliced bread---well since bouillon cubes—

Better than Bouillon
This stuff is made in Ontario and is available in a lot of grocery stores. I’ve bought it at the Wedge, Kowalski’s, and Rainbow foods.  If you find it, I recommend trying it in your next recipe!

What I like about it:

Healthy: It is actually lower in sodium than regular store bought chicken broths coming in at 680mg per cup (regular broth). The low sodium variety has 500mg. They also don’t have any mystery ingredients. Here is what is in the all-natural varieties:
Chicken Meat with Natural Juices, Salt, Organic Cane Juice Solids, Maltodextrin (from corn), Chicken Fat, Yeast Extract, Natural Flavors, Dried Onion, Potato Flour, Spice Extractives, Turmeric.

Freedom: The base to bouillon ratio is 1 tsp per cup of water. If you need something more concentrated, you can add at will.  You can also make the exact amount you need and not have to figure out what to do with that half a can you have leftover.

Flavor: No more boring watery soups! The flavor of this is wonderfully rich, plus they offer lots of different varieties. We have had the beef, regular chicken and low-sodium chicken and think they are stellar. At the Wedge, they also carry mushroom, turkey, ham, vegetable, and all of the low-sodium varieties.

Shelf life: These soup bases stay fresh for 2 years from production (kind of bionic, I know…) and should be refrigerated after opening. Those cartons only last 7 days in the fridge, so this is huge improvement! I usually go through about a jar a month.

Volume: Each jar of pasty deliciousness makes 38 cups of broth at regular concentration. That is a lot of soup! And they average about $5 per jar in the store—much better than $3 per 8 cup carton.

If you are feeling a little weird about buying paste to make food, I completely understand—but if you read some cartons it may say that it is “reconstituted” or “from concentrate”. This is the same kind of stuff that many companies and restaurants use to make their canned and cartoned broth. Homemade from scratch broth is no-doubt the tastiest, but this better than bouillon is more like the best bouillon.

Simple Chicken Noodle Soup
Making the perfect chicken noodle soup to me is all about texture. I like everything kid-sized, so I use Creamette fine egg noodles and cut up all of my veggies super small (usually in my slap chopper if I am lacking in patience). If you like big chunks of veggies, increase the cooking time and just ignore all of my excessive chopping.

6 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 lb. chicken breast tenders, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 Tbsp butter
3 stalks of celery cut into very fine pieces
1 medium yellow onion, minced
2 carrots peeled, cut into very fine pieces
Dried parsley
½ lb of Creamette or other fine egg noodles

Chop up all of the vegetables as fine as possible. Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat and cook your veggies for about 5 minutes until softened. Pour in the chicken broth and water and bring to a boil. Carefully add your chicken pieces. Boil for 6 minutes. Grad a big piece of chicken and check to be sure the inside is cooked through.

While the soup base is cooking, cook your egg noodles according to package directions in a separate pot.  Drain and return to the same pot with a bit of butter to keep the noodles from sticking. Noodles (especially egg noodles) get very soggy when added to the main soup base, and especially when refrigerated as leftovers. If you keep them separate (a la Bri Wright J), your soup will taste freshly made every time you reheat it. This is a great trick!

Add pepper and parsley to taste. Put a ½ cup of noodles into the bottom of each bowl and ladle 1 cup of soup over them. Stir and enjoy!

I hope this soup has you remembering snowy days-- and Campbell soup commercials.


  1. Chicken Meat with Natural Juices, Salt, Organic Cane Juice Solids, Maltodextrin (from corn), Chicken Fat, Yeast Extract, Natural Flavors, Dried Onion, Potato Flour, Spice Extractives, Turmeric.

    Salt, sugar (Organic cane juice solids) more sugar (Maltodextrin) and fat never make it into my broth along with yeast wxtract.... Not good nor natural!. I'll stick to making my own broth so I know there is no hidden sugars and other stuff.

  2. Thanks for replying and welcome to the blog! No doubt--the homemade stuff is much better :)