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May 3, 2007 03:03 PM

For soup - can you substitute beef broth for chicken?

I want to make soup tonight - but only have beef broth and not chicken. Can I substitute w/o it being a big deal? The soup will be potato-leek-sausage.

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  1. It should be just fine. It is just going to have a beefy taste to it, but with the sausage you probably won't notice much difference

    1. If its canned, the issue you'll likely run into is that canned/boxed beef broth tends to be comparatively much saltier than canned/boxed chicken broth, personally I also find that canned beef broth doesn't have as clean a flavor as canned chicken broth, you might be ahead to just go with well seasoned water and a bit of wine as the other ingredients sound like they'd lend nice flavor on their own.

      If its homemade stock, then you'll likely end up with a nice, though much richer and more robust soup.

      1. For a straight potato-leek soup, I'd say no, use just water. Besides the beef flavor, it will add a dark color. With the addition of sausage, the beef broth might work. On the other hand, the sausage is already adding a meat flavor to the soup. You don't need the stock/broth to add body to the soup, especially if part of the soup is pureed.

        1 Reply
        1. re: paulj

          oooh - i didn't think of the dark color. that could be unappetizing. thanks.

        2. When I don't have chicken stock, I use the same quick fix that Marcella Hazan recommends for a risotto broth-- 1/2 beef broth and 1/2 water.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Megiac

            I agree - I'd dilute it. I tend to use purchased chicken stock in lieu of purchased beef stock even if a recipe calls for beef stock, with good results. I just think it tends to have a nasty taste. FWIW, I think I picked up this tip from Sara Moulton.

          2. diluting the beef stock might work, but if you're really worried you can just use water for stock-- since there is sausage, that will add a lot of meaty flavor, and salt, to the soup. i would be generous with herbs like thyme, chives etc if you use water.

            alternately, you can make a super-fast veggie broth-- put a few cups water in a saucepan with a cut up onion (leave the skin on), one or 2 carrots, cut in chunks, some celery leaves or celery stems, 2 bay leaves, optional smashed garlic clove. you can even use some veggie trimmings in the broth, if you're still prepping for your soup. bring to a boil, turn heat down and simmer for about 45 mins, then strain. you have veggie broth you can sub for the chicken. it won't taste like much of anything by itself ( like salt-free chicken broth), but it will add a lot of flavor to your soup, & chances are you already have all the ingredients in the house.