What's the Difference Between Stock and Broth?

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You're preparing a new dinner recipe at home, when suddenly you notice it calls for chicken broth. Just one problem: a single can of chicken stock stares back at you from the cabinet. You're starving, so venturing back to the grocery store isn't an option. Can you use stock instead of broth? And what in the heck is the difference between the two, anyway? Before you scrap your cooking plans and heat up a depressing frozen burrito, read on!

In many ways, stock and broth are very similar. According to Theodora FitzGibbon, author of The Food of the Western World, "stock is the liquid extracted from fish, meat, poultry or vegetables by slow cooking with water, or wine and water." Stock isn't meant to be eaten on its own because it's intended to be used as a base in dishes like soup and risotto.

And what about broth? Award-winning food writer Alan Davidson says, "It could be said that broth occupies an intermediate position between stock and soup. A broth (e.g. chicken broth) can be eaten as is, whereas a stock (e.g. chicken stock) would normally be consumed only as an ingredient in something more complex." You can jazz up stock with more meat and flavoring to make broth. And from a practicality standpoint, you can make a recipe that calls for broth with stock, and vice versa.

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