If you are like me and you like to cook, chicken broth is an ingredient that comes up almost weekly on my shopping list. As I peruse the soup aisle at Hannaford, I am almost always at a loss as to which brand to choose. Certainly, one must be superior, but I am chronically unsure which, and thus ensued the battle of the broths!
Here are the players:
Surprisingly, there was a pretty significant difference between each broth. I poured them each into shot glasses and tasted them several times. My palate knew its favorite immediately. I’ll get to that. On the contrary, one broth I truly considered spitting out. I know what you’re thinking: that would be messy and rude and overall just childish, so I didn’t.
Here is how each broth tested out:
Campbell’s: When I cracked open the can of Campbell’s, I expected that nostalgic chicken noodle soup taste that we all hate ourselves for craving. For the most part, the broth did taste very similar to the soup. My first impression was that it was extremely salty, and I soon realized that this broth was meant to be diluted 50/50 with water. After diluting the broth, it tasted much less rich and more like a stale bouillon cube. It had that highly processed flavor that only huge, mega-companies like Campbell’s can capture, and it didn’t deliver on that authentic, rich chicken taste that I was looking for.
College Inn: When this broth hit my palate I immediately tasted a thin, muddied earthiness that I was not a fan of. In fact, I would have preferred the stale-bouillon flavor that the Campbell’s broth brought to the table. This broth had the most sodium of the four I sampled, but even all of that salt couldn’t rescue whatever was going on in there. The ingredient label cued me in on the not-at-all-chicken taste that I was sensing: carrot and onion juice concentrate. No Bueno.
Swanson: The Swanson broth had an herby, earthy taste to it. Like College Inn, this broth also contained vegetables (carrot, celery, and onion); however, in this case, the vegetables were not used in concentrate form, and Swanson was able to capture a much more appealing and authentic flavor. It was not super rich and it did not have the round, fattiness of a broth made purely with chicken, but if you are looking for a broth with earthy undertones, this is a decent choice.
Hannaford: Hannaford was on its game when it designed this chicken broth. Not only is it the most cost-effective choice, it was also my favorite, hands down. It tasted like a chicken broth should taste: chicken. It was ostensibly richer and more authentic tasting than the others, and it tasted like the salted drippings of a chicken roast. My high-fives go out to Hannaford on this one. You win.
Okay, so maybe I don’t have the palate of Gordon Ramsay, but I am very sophisticated at determining good from bad.
Ham: good. SPAM: bad.
Cheese: good. Kraft American: bad.
Steak: good. Leather: bad.
And more importantly, Hannaford chicken broth: good. College Inn: bad.