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Why do non-chicken, even beef, recipes call for chicken broth?

Why not beef or some other flavor?

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  1. A) It's a more neutral tasting broth than beef, ham, or seafood.

    b) Everyone has it on hand nearly all the time.

    1. Either because the recipe calls for a slightly cleaner, lighter, more neutral flavor, or just because it's generally easier and cheaper to get your hands on or make good quality chicken broth than beef.

      1. I suppose it makes some sense but it just seems strange not to use beef broth to enhance a beef dish; even a vegetable broth would work. Chicken seems so out of place.

        1. Probably because most canned beef broth products taste like melted aluminum. When a recipe calls for "beef broth" my solution is to use a good quality low-sodium chicken broth and add a smidgen of Better Than Bouillon Beef. The Better Than Bouillon products are far superior to most commercial broth and bouillon brands but I still can't take their beef flavor all on its own.

          If I were a true Chowhound I would, of course, make my own beef stock. Alas, I fall short here.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mandycat

            Mandycat, you right on point. America's Test Kitchen often uses chicken broth in beef dishes (i.e. pot roast) because of the "metallic" taste of canned beef broth. In fact, America's Test Kitchen found that there is liitle or no beef products (depending on the brand) in canned beef broth.

          2. Most of the recipes I have seen call for chicken stock. The reason they call for chicken stock, even in a beef dish, is it is more likely you will have chicken stock. They want the gelatinous mouth feel of stock. Beef stock would work but chicken is easier. Chicken stock is mild flavored enough that you can cover it up with beef flavor but there isn't much substitute for the mouth feel.