Patient Chowhounds can make the best sort of soup stock at home. “I pick up $1 sacks of chicken backs from Asian stores to make several liters of rich stock in about an hour of simmering,” says jayt90. “It’s addictive!” Some butchers will even trim the fat off for you, says AzulH. To save freezer space, cook your stock down to a jelly consistency and freeze it in ice cube trays, suggests embee.
If you don’t have time or freezer space to make your own stock, the low-sodium version of Better Than Bouillon is a good option, says adamshoe. It’s a thick paste in a squat little jar—an eight-ounce one will run you around $3.50 to $5.50, depending on the store, says greygarious, who likes the Trader Joe’s brand even more than Better Than Bouillon, saying it’s less adulterated and better tasting. The only problem is that it comes in irritating little packets like fast-food ketchup.
Val likes Herb-Ox sodium free chicken broth packets, around $2.19 for eight packets: “Really nice flavor with no sodium.” pigtails likes the nice, clean flavor of College Inn broth. alwayscooking agrees. It’s “so good you could even just heat and serve as soup,” with none of the salty or dusty flavors that alwayscooking associates with grocery store stock.
“Maybe this will lose me my Chow cred,” says embee, “but my favourite substitution for real stock is the low-sodium Campbell’s chicken stock in the tetra pak. To my palate, this is the only one that tastes of chicken.”