The Dried Ingredients David Chang Uses To Flavor Rich Stocks

If you want a rich, flavorful stock there aren't too many people who would know what to do better than David Chang. The chef and founder of Momofuku has too many good recipes up his sleeve to have a signature dish per se, but the original Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City was built on the back of ramen, one of the best delivery systems for comforting broth that exists. As the basis of so many good soups, Chang sees no point in holding back when making stock and has a couple of big flavor bombs that he uses to amp it up. According to Food & Wine, Chang likes to produce rich broth by using dried mushrooms and freeze-dried chicken.

Chang says using these two dried ingredients is "like making your own bouillon cube," which makes sense because bouillon cubes use the same kind of drying to preserve the stock and produce super-concentrated flavor packs. The dried mushrooms are not a huge surprise from Chang, as mushroom stock makes up the base of some of his best ramen creations, but the real interesting ingredient is the freeze-dried chicken. It's not something you see in a lot of grocery stores, but it can be found at camping suppliers and some online retailers. Combining these two meaty dried ingredients in one recipe will bring a deeply savory base to any stock.

How to use dried mushrooms and chicken breast in your stock

When you're making stock, you're looking to draw as much flavor from your ingredients as possible, and dried ingredients do you a favor by already being intensely concentrated, easily releasing those great tastes into your stock as they rehydrate. Dried mushrooms, in particular, are intensely strong because so much of fresh mushrooms' weight is water, which means the fungi have nothing left but the earthy taste you want. Mushrooms are also big sources of umami, which is a key factor in making a good, rich stock. Freeze-dried chicken also has a lot of the same characteristics, as freeze-drying is one of the most effective ways to not only preserve meat but retain its flavor close to its original, fresh state.

If you want to use dried mushrooms and freeze-dried chicken in your own stock, you'll quickly realize the other big advantage beyond flavor: You just drop them in. Chang uses a little under 1 cup of mushrooms per quart of water in his stock and the same amount of freeze-dried chicken by weight. You can use the freeze-dried chicken by itself for any stock that needs a poultry boost, or mix it with bone-in chicken for an even deeper flavor. Keep a few long-lasting dried ingredients like mushrooms and chicken on hand, and you always be seconds away from a stock upgrade.