What Is Chicken Base Explained, And How To Create One
When you want to make a chicken flavored sauce and soup, you need a number of different ingredients to achieve that taste.
Chicken base is one of the easiest and most useful things to do the trick.
It's different from the bouillon and stock. If you haven't used it by now, and don't know exactly what it is, I am here to make it clear for you!
I use the chicken base quite regularly, and I prefer it over the stock and broth. I even made a couple of my own versions, and I will teach you how to do it yourself. 🙂
What the Chicken Base actually is?
To explain it in the simplest way possible, the chicken base is a paste that can be used to create a base for gravy, soup, and stock.
It's mostly used to give the flavor to liquids, but it can also be used to marinate meat.
The difference between Chicken Base, Stock and Bouillon
Although you can achieve very similar flavor with all of these, they are quite different. I can tell you from my experience that not even the flavors come out the same. They leave a very similar taste in the mouth, but the richness of flavors is very different.
- Bouillon is just like the chicken base in the form of small cubes. It adds the flavor to sauces, soups, and stews. Basically, a chicken bouillon is dehydrated chicken stock. The difference between the bouillon and chicken base is that the bouillon is much saltier.
- Chicken stock is a liquid with rich chicken flavors. It's made with chicken bones and whole chicken parts. It may also contain spices, herbs, salt, pepper and a lot of vegetables for the ultimate flavor. The biggest difference between the chicken stock, bouillon and the chicken base is that it's the only one in the liquid form.
- Chicken base is the chicken stock in the concentrated form. Since it's derived from the liquid, it's mostly found in the form of a paste, but it can be found in the form of powder and cube. I would recommend chicken base in the form of paste because it has a richer flavor.
Chicken Base Advantages
We established that all three options for chicken flavor are similar. So, why would you use the chicken base instead of the other two?
- I've tried all of them, and I can say that chicken base adds the best chicken flavor of them all.
- It also provides a richer color and a better consistency, which is crucial for gravies, sauces, stews, soups, etc. No matter what kind of chicken flavored dish you want to make, the chicken base will always be a better choice than chicken stock or bouillon.
- I love how my soups get a rich color; gravies have just the right consistency and stews have that rich flavor I want to achieve.
How to Make Your Own Chicken Base
Making your own chicken base is the not difficult task at all, and you can tune the flavor just how you like it. All it takes is these 7 simple steps:
- Prepare the ingredients: To make a chicken base, you will need a whole chicken, garlic, onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and cheesecloth.
- Make a stock: The first step in the making process is to create a chicken stock. It's extremely simple. Fill a pot full of water and leave it on the stove. While you wait for the water to boil, chop the garlic, carrots, onions, and celery.
- Add the ingredients: When the water reaches its boiling temperature, add all of the ingredients you previously prepared.
- Reduce the stock: Simmer all the ingredients until the part of the water is reduced. Continue doing so until there are only two-thirds of the water left. Be patient, because it will require a lot of hours to complete. To keep the ingredients from sticking, stir them from time to time.
- Cool it off: When you reduced your stock, it's time to let it cool off. You should let it cool off on its own for some time, and then leave it in the fridge. But, before you do, take out the cooked chicken, debone it and chop it into pieces.
- Make the paste: Check on the stock in the fridge after some time, and take it out once you see the fat separate on the top. Remove the fat, and press the rest through the cheesecloth to make the chicken base paste.
- Store it: The done chicken paste can be stored up to three months in the fridge if you store it in the airtight container. That way it will preserve all the flavors, and it will stay fresh for longer time.
Extra Tips on Homemade Chicken Base
There's more to the making of the chicken base than just following the recipe, and you learn this over time. Since I already made a couple of them, I can give you some pointers that will be helpful from the start.
- When you're ready to store the chicken base, it will be better to separate it into smaller containers for easier future use. Even though you made a paste, and not the powdered version, you can create small cubes using ice trays; just make sure the tray can be sealed, so the paste doesn't lose its flavor.
- The chicken base has to be made with bony chicken parts if you want to achieve that rich flavor. The vegetables and seasonings can be added according to your personal taste.
- Modify the ingredients based on the type of dishes you will be cooking. For example, if you plan on making some Mexican chicken dishes, add some cilantro.
- You can use your homemade chicken base for a lot of various dishes. It can be used for holiday dressing, stuffing, and even rice, just to add it some flavor.
- Even though the whole chicken is recommended, you don't have to use both dark and white meat. You can choose which one to use, as long as you don't debone it.
What to Do if You Don't Have the Time to Make Your Own Chicken Base
The homemade chicken base is better because you can adjust the ingredients just how you like it, but sometimes you won't have the time to go through the cooking process that can last up to several hours. In these cases, you can just buy the prepared chicken base from the store.
I'd like to point out that store-bought chicken base will never be as healthy as the homemade one. Pay attention to the ingredients used, and make sure its FDA approved. A good and simple way to check the ingredients of the chicken base is that the chicken is the first on the list of ingredients.
Also, pay attention to the additives, and artificial flavors, if it has one. Usually, they do. Also, the store-bought chicken base can be rich in sodium, which can be bad for your health if it has more than the recommended daily amount.
The safe amount of sodium consumed per day is maximum 2,3gr, depending on the age of the person. Some of the chicken bases can have half of the maximum daily amount in a single serving.
How to Select the Best Chicken Base from the Store
The chicken base was usually sold and produced in bulk, which helped people have a cost-effective way to make semi-homemade food, mostly used in the food industry and restaurants.
Today, smaller packages are available for smaller consumers, which can be used by individuals in their homes. Nowadays, you can find a chicken base in large grocery stores and online.
To get the best chicken base is to know its ingredients and its storage options. I would recommend you to get the chicken base made by the smaller manufacturers who specialize in making it.
Check the ingredients carefully and in detail, make sure it's not high in sodium, and it satisfies the dietary needs. Also, narrow down your choice based on how you would like to store it later. Some chicken base packages can last longer than the others.
To sum up our chicken base story, I would always recommend you to try my recipe and make your own.
If that's not your thing, and it's too time-consuming for you, then buy the finished one from the store. Your dish will still be better off with the store bought chicken base than it would be with chicken stock or bouillon.