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Experiences w/ Swanson's Stock (boxed)

jackzchow Oct 5, 2010 12:19 PM

Any experiences with Swanson's Beef or Chicken Stocks? I usually make my own stock but sometimes I am in a pich and need something quick. I've seen these in my store but haven't tried them. Good results?

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    nemo RE: jackzchow Oct 5, 2010 01:41 PM

    Swanson's and College Inn are pretty watery IMO. For a boxed stock, I prefer Imagine brand, probably found in the organic section of your store. There's also Better Than Bouillon soup base which comes in a glass jar and lasts a good long time in the fridge. It's great if you just need a teaspoonful or so to enrich a gravy, but I've been known to make a whole pot of soup with it. I can recommend the chicken, but I did not care for the mushroom.

    3 Replies
    1. re: nemo
      LauraGrace RE: nemo Oct 5, 2010 02:04 PM

      +1 (or 10!) on Better than bouillon. I can also recommend the vegan no-chicken variety and the beef variety. Use it all the time in soup, sauce, and risotto.

      1. re: LauraGrace
        greygarious RE: LauraGrace Oct 5, 2010 02:33 PM

        Another recommendation for the BTB bases. Though it's still plenty salty, it is less so than other bouillons. They make a reduced sodium version of their chicken and beef bases but unfortunately not the whole line. Not only is BTB of good quality, but I appreciate the more compact storage and lesser weight, as regards cupboard and fridge space, and toting groceries home. I make 3 qts of soup most weeks, so I go through a lot of this stuff. I'll make stock from scratch if making chicken noodle soup, for the sake of the gelatin, but for bean, chowder, or pureed soups it's BTB.

        1. re: greygarious
          nvcook RE: greygarious Oct 5, 2010 04:21 PM

          I like swanson's reduced sodium 99% fat free and I also love the Better than Boullion. Sometimes I will just add a tbls of the BTB to the Swanson's.

    2. c
      Christnp RE: jackzchow Oct 5, 2010 04:30 PM

      Cooks Illustrated rates Swanson's organic free range chicken broth as "best" in their taste tests. Their other varieties will be different.

      I've used Pacific boxed chicken broth with some regularity and good results. I never did a side-by-side comparison with Swanson's Free Range though.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Christnp
        cgarner RE: Christnp Oct 5, 2010 04:41 PM

        I like Swanson's organic alot. I've never found it to be watery. I've used BTB beef base too
        I generally have chicken stock in the freezer but again, in a pinch, Swanson's is very good!

      2. LoBrauHouseFrau RE: jackzchow Oct 5, 2010 04:55 PM

        The last couple of times I used Swansons' stock it had a strange medicine-y aftertaste to it. I usually keep Better Than Bouillon around instead, or if I need a light broth for something quick I buy the Butterball brand.

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          Breezychow RE: jackzchow Oct 5, 2010 05:06 PM

          Swanson's Chicken BROTH (I believe they now have Chicken STOCK out which I haven't tried, nor know what the difference is) is my "go to" when I don't have my own homemade chicken broth on hand. I buy it in the recloseable cartons & find it invaluable for general cooking, impromptu soups, & as a hot beverage just on its own. It's not at all salty & has a nice chicken flavor. I'm talking about the regular Swanson's broth here - NOT the organic, which I find weak, watery, & flavorless.

          Even better than Swanson's is/was Progresso's chicken broth in a carton, but I believe they may have stopped producing that as I haven't seen it in any of our local markets in quite some time, which is a shame. Lately Progresso seems to be discontinuing all of the products I loved - first their "Pepper Salad", now their broths. I must not be in their marketing research circle, even though I used to purchase both of these items like they were going out of style.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Breezychow
            SilverlakeGirl RE: Breezychow Dec 10, 2010 02:27 PM

            I'm glad you made the distinction between BROTH and STOCK.

            I, too, am interested in experiences with Swanson's Chicken STOCK. It is on sale this week and I bought two cartons in hope that is good.

          2. mels RE: jackzchow Oct 6, 2010 05:38 AM

            I use Better than Bouillon as well; I can vouch for the beef and chicken varieties. For dishes where the broth will be more of the star of the show, I like Pacific brand and the 365 brand from Whole Foods.

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              ageliki RE: jackzchow Oct 11, 2010 01:47 PM


              1. GraydonCarter RE: jackzchow Dec 10, 2010 05:57 AM

                Searching for store-bought chicken stock recommendations, found plenty of discussions but this is the thread that sums it up best.

                I wonder if anyone has tried Lagasse brand. (Just because his face is on the box, doesn't make it a better tasting chicken stock, although I do like his K-cup coffee...)

                2 Replies
                1. re: GraydonCarter
                  GraydonCarter RE: GraydonCarter Dec 11, 2010 06:18 PM

                  I bought Wegman's Culinary Savory Chicken Stock and it was priced at two for $5. It had a deep amber color.

                  1. re: GraydonCarter
                    GraydonCarter RE: GraydonCarter Jan 3, 2011 06:53 AM

                    Made chicken soup yesterday and was very impressed with the deep flavors provided by Wegman's Culinary Savory Chicken Stock.

                2. b
                  Breezychow RE: jackzchow Dec 10, 2010 01:51 PM

                  I don't care for any of the commercial brands of chicken "stock" that I've tried. Chicken "broth", on the other hand, is a whole different ballgame.

                  If you can find it, the cartons of Progresso brand Chicken Broth are my favorite. Flavorful enough for me to keep around to use as a hot beverage. Second choice is Swanson's - but the regular - NOT the organic. I find the organic insipid at best. Rachel Ray's wasn't bad, but I found College Inn watery.

                  1. s
                    sueatmo RE: jackzchow Dec 11, 2010 06:28 PM

                    The beef stock is awful, as is any beef stocks I've ever tried from the store. I use the Swanson's chicken reduced sodium frequently. I think they are very lightly flavored but they can be strengthened, or used as is. I will cook a chicken in commercial chicken stock and I usually like the results. Good chicken and strengthened stock. I also like for flavoring veggies. I use very little when I microwave veggies.

                    Soup bases like Better than Boullion are just too salty for me. I do taste chicken but I also taste the salt! These are good strengtheners for homemade broth that you have not added salt to already, IMO.

                    I made fine turkey broth this past Thksg by pressure cooking turkey necks in some chicken stock, Swanson's, actually. I added extra raw vegetables and some fresh herb. It turned out very nice for seasoning stuffing.

                    I found that Pacific makes a very nice vegetable stock, by the way.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: sueatmo
                      Breezychow RE: sueatmo Dec 12, 2010 11:41 AM

                      I cook chicken in chicken broth too! If I'm making my own stock & have some Swanson's on hand, I'll add it along with water to cover the bird (or carcass), just for a little added oomph. Turns out great every time. It's also great to use if one is poaching chicken breasts for salad or something, & the post-poaching broth can be frozen & re-used for soup or other recipes at a later date.

                    2. mamachef RE: jackzchow Dec 12, 2010 12:46 PM

                      My opinion is that Swanson's makes a very flat, thin and artificial stock that needs to be reduced with the addition of vegetables to truly be workable. I've preferred Progresso and an organic brand I can't remember the name of. My rule is, if the flavor of the broth is paramount, e.g. tortellini in brodo, make it yourself or leave it alone, but if you're working with it as a base it's okay as long as you totally doctor it up.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mamachef
                        Breezychow RE: mamachef Dec 12, 2010 01:43 PM

                        Progresso is/was definitely my top choice, but for some bizarre reason, every supermarket in our area put it all on "clearance" sale & stopped carrying it this past year. In fact, I thought Progresso had discontinued it. Very sad.

                      2. TrishUntrapped RE: jackzchow Dec 12, 2010 03:33 PM

                        I threw out a pot of chicken soup this week using Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock (unsalted so I could add my own) as the base. What a waste of beautiful chicken, carrots, celery and onion. This stuff should not be used for soup. In the past I have used it when enriching a soup or stock but never as a base and I never will again.

                        It tasted so bad that even though I drained the chicken and veggies they were too tainted to eat. The flavor is very off and strong. When I went back to the store I did not see Kitchen Basics broth just stock. I also noticed that the back of the box contained a recipe for soup so apparently that is a use they recognize.

                        In the past I have used Pacific Organic broth for soup and I will go back to it.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: TrishUntrapped
                          jackzchow RE: TrishUntrapped Dec 21, 2010 08:29 AM

                          Well, I tried the Swanson's Chicken STOCK and really found it to be more like a broth. In fact I found little difference between Swanson's broth or stock. Definitely not like any stock (restaurant) I've ever tasted..very weak, thin, and bland. I am better off making my own chicken stock.

                        2. MandalayVA RE: jackzchow Jan 3, 2011 09:01 AM

                          I used the Swanson chicken stock (that was what CI recommended, not the broth) in an emergency situation last month when I was making chicken soup and thought I had more homemade broth in the freezer than I did. I didn't notice a flavor change but the broth for the soup was about 70% homemade and I think that covered up any weakness the stock on its own might have had. I still have a carton left, maybe I'll try it straight and see what happens ...

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