2 Ways to Deepen Chicken Stock/Soup Flavor

There are two things that I do that help create a deeper flavor in my chicken stock/soup.

  1. I brown the chicken. You can choose to do it either with oil in the pot (or another pan) or to roast it in the oven. I prefer doing it in the pot (skin down) as it makes one less thing to clean up. Why this works: Browning the chicken creates a maillard reaction or a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar. Maillard reactions create flavor molecules that give foods their distinctive tastes and smells.

  2. I add tomato paste. Most people think this is an odd thing to add to chicken soup. (The first time I did it I thought my soup would turn out red, but it didn’t.) Tomato paste is widely used in many dishes to deepen flavor. But timing matters. Simply adding it with liquid misses the point. The key here is to caramelize the tomato paste. It should end up being a dark red-brown so be careful not to add it too early. Adding it when your vegetables are almost finished sauteing (you’re doing that too right?!) is a good time to add it.