Why You Should Use Ground Chicken As A Soup Base

Forget the holidays. The most wonderful time of the year is soup season. Offering cozy comfort by the bowl, soup is a standby every cook can turn to when they're looking for a dish that is both no-fuss and nuanced in flavor.

Developing complex flavors in soups and stews often begins with incorporating chicken. Bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces and a medley of vegetables often form the base for chicken stock, the umami-rich liquid that adds much-needed depth to your soups. As opposed to stock, bone broth is made from just the bones of the animal, a super concentrated version of stock that is high in collagen. This packs a flavorful punch in your soups and stews as well, but both stock and broth are held back by one pesky thing: long cook times. According to Taste of Home, bone broth can take up to 24 hours to make, while the less time-consuming stock can still take 2 hours to simmer down. 

Cooks looking to bring soup to the table in a hurry don't always have extra stock chilling in the freezer, let alone the time to make a fresh batch. But there's a new flavorful shortcut that'll bring you all the taste of stock or broth in half the time. 

The flavor boost of ground chicken

The secret ingredient to more flavorful soup? Ground chicken. And yes, we can back that claim up with science. Cooks Illustrated conducted an experiment between two soup bases, one using the traditional bone-in, skin-on chicken parts and one using ground chicken. Both were sent off to the lab to check to see which had more dissolved solids (the tasty bits that give your soup such a rich taste). When the results came in there was a clear winner: the ground chicken stock had 70% more dissolved solids than the traditional chicken part stock. 

This method is particularly helpful if you're short on time, too. The smaller the chicken piece, the faster the meat is broken down to give up maximum flavor. But does this fast hack also beat the ease and flavor of adding rotisserie chicken? According to Alexa Weibel of the New York Times Cooking, unequivocally yes. While rotisserie chicken is often used in shortcut chicken soup, it doesn't absorb flavors nearly as well as ground chicken. Instead, she opts for sautéing her ground chicken in olive oil and spices to create a quick and tasty base.  

So the next time you're looking to up the ante on your soup, skip the wings and drumsticks and spring for the ground chicken.