MUNDANE MYSTERIES: The Difference Between Stock & Broth

Whenever you need to make a soup or stew, what do you go with: broth or stock? What even is the difference between stock & broth? Well, if you’re like me & you’ve thought stock & broth were pretty much interchangeable…we’re all technically wrong.

Both broth & stock are made from meat-and-veggie simmered water to give them their flavor. The primary difference is that stock is typically simmered with chicken or beef bones, because the gelatin in those bones generates a thicker, more savory liquid. In fact, by definition, “vegetable stock” is a misnomer. But even chefs will call broth stock & stock broth interchangeably. So, you actually can totally substitute one for the other.

If you want to be 100% accurate, though, you need to think about whether the liquid has added flavorings. Stock is generally left unflavored to serve as a neutral base, meaning it’s more watery, while broth is usually made with herbs and spices, including salt and pepper, so it’s more savory & flavorful.

So, if you’re thinking of making your own broth or stock at home, but the process seems too daunting, don’t get discouraged. You can always just use Julia Child’s shortcut: just buy a can of broth at the store, simmer the liquid for 15 to 20 minutes with a handful of minced carrots, onions, and celery, then add some dry white French vermouth (or just some dry white wine), and then boom! You’re all set, mission accomplished. Just don’t forget to invite me to dinner!

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via Twitter (@AndyWebbRadio), or shoot me an email at [email protected].

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