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Mar 27, 2013 05:13 PM

Chicken soup help!

I recently made chicken stock (for matzo ball soup), and it turned out too sweet. I followed a pretty basic recipe: a whole chicken, some extra chicken bones, carrots, turnips, onion, tomato, all simmered for a couple hours. should i take out the vegetables earlier? less vegetables? I'm just not sure why this batch turned out sweeter than usual, when any chicken stock recipe I find looks like what I did.


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  1. Maybe too many carrots. And, I think some turnips can be on the sweet side?

    1. Carrots, turnips, onion & tomato are all sweet - you need celery and herbs (parsley & bay leaf are most common) to balance them out. I personally like to toss in a garlic clove and peppercorns too.

      And FWIW, I've never used tomato in my chicken stock, nor have I seen a recipe that calls for it. Tomato products are usually only found in brown stocks used for things like demi-glace and brown sauces.

      1. i don't mean to sound critical but I have never known anyone to use tomato in the stock/soup base for chicken soup with matzoh balls. I always use:
        Chicken and bones
        maybe a hint of garlic depending on taste

        Bring to boil and skim, reduce heat and continue to skim. cool overnight. bring to a boil the next day. strain if you like a clear soup/broth with matzoh balls.

        I'm truthfully not familiar with cooking with possible that it made your soup starchy/sweet? What kind of "sweet" was the taste?

        good luck

        3 Replies
        1. re: MRS

          Sometimes carrots are sweeter than other times. Perhaps that was the reason?

            1. re: MRS

              oh woops, I meant parsnips! The sweet most definitely came from the parsnips and carrots. So maybe I'll cut out the parsnips as someone else suggested, if their flavor can be overpowering.

            2. I think chicken stock is about the chicken. I only add onions, celery, peppercorns, and maybe bay leaf and/or thyme. If I'm using the stock for something Asian, I'll put in some fresh ginger (and no bay leaf or thyme).

              An old ATK article said that carrots don't add any flavor to stock, so I stopped using them.

              2 Replies
              1. re: sandylc

                this is what i do, too. but what a revelation about the carrots. not gonna use em anymore!

                1. re: sandylc

                  Not many Americans know the flavor of ginger in Asian cooking. I have also become a fan of Galanga root a very similar but sweeter variety. I love to make Tom Yum soup with Lemongrass another great Asian flavor. I'm now plying my art at Pho a Vietnamese noodle broth dish. As far as Carrots I believe they add a delicate sweetness and balance to most but not every soup. Bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, peppercorns all added to taste. That's what's great about soup. There are no boundries.

                2. Make chicken stock with chicken.

                  Don't throw in all those aromatics and veggies. Save those for the soup you eventually prepare.

                  Water, chicken (carcass, bones, etc.) and a bit of vinegar (optional) is all you need for great chicken stock.