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Chefs should choose the best substitute for chicken stock by thinking about the specific dish they are making. Substitutes can be made using beef or vegetable stock, making a stock at home, or using water. Stocks are interchangeable within most recipes, and this means that beef, vegetable, or lamb stock can often be used in place of chicken stock. Some dishes are more suited to certain types of stock than others, however. Chefs can also make stocks at home using common ingredients. It is also possible to substitute stock for plain or salted water in some cases.
The simplest way to choose a substitute for chicken stock is to replace it with a different stock. Most stocks can be used interchangeably, so any stock the chef has available will be suitable. Beef stock, vegetable stock, lamb stock, and veal stock can all be used in place of chicken stock. Chefs can also choose to use a dehydrated bouillon cube in the place of fresh chicken stock if possible. These cubes have to be mixed with water before being added to a dish.
Some dishes work better with some stocks than others. For example, mushroom risotto is often made with chicken stock as the main liquid, but vegetable stock also works well. Beef, veal, or lamb stock wouldn’t work as well with this dish, so they shouldn’t be chosen to replace the chicken stock. Chefs can look at different recipes for the dish and see if any use an alternative stock.
Vegetable stock can be used as a substitute for chicken stock and is easy to make. Chefs should chop up two onions, two carrots, three celery stalks, and a bulb of garlic and add them to a large pan. Seasonings such as salt and black pepper and herbs like bay leaves can be added to the mix. Boiling water is poured into the pan to cover the vegetables and the mixture is left to cook for an hour. The flavors of the vegetables infuse into the water and create stock.
Water can be used as a substitute for chicken stock if no other options are available. Chefs can consider this option if they have extra time to cook the dish and if there are a lot of flavors already present in it. For example, a dish containing onions, garlic, chicken, celery, and mushrooms will create its own stock if cooked in water. The chef might have to leave the dish to cook for longer than usual to allow the flavor to infuse into the dish, however.