Flavourful alternatives: What to use if you don’t have stock
You want to make a hearty pot of soup, but the recipe calls for stock and you’re fresh out! Here’s a list of handy substitutions.
There’s nothing quite as comforting as a hearty bowl of steaming soup, especially on a chilly evening. But what if you find yourself craving a delicious homemade soup, only to discover that you’re fresh out of stock? Fear not, for every culinary challenge has a solution!
Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or a seasoned home cook, there are several creative and resourceful alternatives to make your soups just as delightful, even without traditional stock.
A glass of wine for you and a little for the pot, too! If your recipe needs a small amount of broth, like a ½ cup or less, then dry white wine or a bit of red is a great substitute. The flavour is slightly acidic and is great for thinning out a sauce a little or deglazing a pan.
For recipes where broth is needed, but it’s not the main ingredient, try replacing it with 1 cup of water plus 1 tablespoon of butter for every cup of broth in your recipe. It will create a rich flavour and give it a little creaminess.
In a pinch, coconut milk can replace chicken broth or stock, especially if you’re cooking Asian-style food.
Don’t throw away the liquid in your canned chickpeas or butter beans – that’s aquafaba! Dilute the aquafaba with equal parts water (to account for the starchiness) and use it in your dishes as a substitute for stock.
Hot tip: It also makes a great egg replacement in baking.
Instant noodle flavour packet
Yes, you read that correctly. If you have a packet of noodles, you have a stock substitute. Dissolve the packet in a cup of hot water and taste it, then adjust the seasoning with whatever additional spices or herbs you have at hand and want to include.
If it’s a dish that calls for stock as one of its core components such as minestrone soup, this one won’t work, but if you need a small amount for a soup that has other aromatics like certain veggies, garlic or herbs, then it’s okay to use seasoned water to thin out your dish while also adding flavour.
You might need to add a bit more salt than usual and lots of spices and herbs, but also consider adding other substances to boost the flavour like a splash of some dry white wine or soy sauce or even mustard to keep things flavourful and interesting. Just make sure to simmer your dish long enough to give all the ingredients enough time to really come through.
Don’t just make that cup of rooibos or Ceylon for yourself – add some to your pot, too! It can boost the flavour of your dish and add something interesting to your dinner conversation. Bring an equal amount of water to a boil, just as you would for broth, and then allow the tea to steep for 10 to 15 minutes until it is thoroughly infused. Green tea is great for seafood and vegetarian soups, while black tea is great for red meat and mushrooms.
Make a garlic stock with water and two heads of garlic. Bring the garlic to a boil in the amount of water needed for your stock, plus another two cups. Add salt and any other spices you’d like and then let simmer for about an hour. What you’ll have left is a delectable stock that will add a depth of flavour.