Saturday, October 18, 2014

Homemade Chicken Bouillon Powder

Some time ago, I set out to find substitutes for many of the mixes or ingredients I use in cooking, simply because so many labels are long lists of difficult-to-pronounce ingredients whose effect on the body is unclear.

One of those cooking ingredients I made pretty liberal use of was Wyler's Chicken Bouillon Granules.  I mean, I used this stuff *A LOT*.  And I used it in the homemade mixes I was making.  The biggest complaint I had about it for a long time was how salty it made stuff taste.  Then, one day, I looked at the ingredient list.  

Oh boy.  I can't take a picture of the label since I don't have a jar of this stuff anymore, but this is the ingredient list as taken from the Wal-Mart website:

Salt, Sugar, Corn Maltodextrin, Water, Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten Protein, Monosodium Glutamate, Chicken Fat, Onion Powder, Cooked Chicken Powder, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Turmeric, Natural Chicken Flavor, Disodium Inosinate And Disodium Guanylate, Gelatin, Garlic Powder, Corn Syrup Solids, Natural Flavors, Celery Seed, Modified Corn Starch, Hydrolyzed Soy Gluten Protein, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean And Cottonseed Oils, Soybean Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Tbhq (Preservative), Artificial Flavor, Alpha Tocopherol (Antioxidant), BHA (Preservative), Propyl Gallate, Citric Acid, Butter Oil. Contains Soybeans, Milk. Processed On Equipment That Also Processes Wheat, Soybeans, Milk, Egg.

It's a list almost as long as my arm.  Plus, each teaspoon of the stuff has 740 mg of sodium.  No wonder it makes stuff taste so salty to us.

This item became a candidate for my ingredient substitution adventure and I quickly found a homemade recipe.  Now, like all good adventures, you really never know what's around the corner -- or, in this case, how something actually tastes. :)  But, this recipe is spot on!  I tried it out in our favorite Crockpot Black Bean Soup and not one soul in this family had any idea I'd changed anything.  The only comment I got was that it "needed salt".  

Mission accomplished!!

So, the recipe I use for my homemade chicken bouillon comes from a website called Mummy Deals.  You can print the recipe from her location.  I'm just going to show you my steps and pictures, but I pretty much followed the recipe word-for-word.

First up is the cast of characters.  You need nutritional yeast flakes, sea salt, minced dried onion, parsley flakes, sage, celery salt, garlic powder, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, and basil.  I had a difficult time finding the yeast flakes, and eventually located them at Earth Fare, an organic foods grocery store.  They were a tad pricey.

The recipe calls for 1 full cup of the flakes.  This was just under 1/2 the container.  I no longer have the receipt where I purchased the flakes, but I think I can safely say that I didn't necessarily save money on this recipe.  However, one glance at Amazon reveals that you can probably purchase the flakes in a larger package for a decent price.  That's what I'll do for future batches.

Apparently, you can also sprinkle the yeast flakes on popcorn to give it a good flavor.  I have a tad left in my container, so next time I make popcorn, I may give that a shot.  If that's the case, it'll at least have multiple uses.  :)

I poured all my spices in a bowl, just to make them pretty for a picture. No other purpose than that!

The ninja chopper I bought at Target is actually what I used to grind the ingredients.  Unfortunately, the ninja is not capable of getting these ingredients to a really fine powder.  The little onion bits were still quite visible in the mix, along with the parsley.  I have a coffee grinder somewhere I may try in the future, but I've had no trouble using this powder in this state.  

I simply store the powder in a small mason jar, and use 1 tsp per cup of water just like I do the old Wyler's stuff.  Now, I have not used this as pure broth.  I have used it in recipes, and other homemade mixes with great success.  It's not nearly as salty, so some adjustments need to be made for recipes that rely on some sodium.  For soups and what not, I just let each family member season as desired.  I don't like my food very salty anymore, so this fits my tastes pretty well.

Now, it wouldn't be fair to claim this is better without providing some information on Nutritional Yeast Flakes.  I don't have a picture of my container, but I thought I'd link you the information on Wikipedia and the nutritional database at Self Magazine.  

The short if it is -- nutritional yeast flakes are really quite good for you.  I bought a container of the fortified yeast flakes, so it had added B12 -- 130% of daily needs.

I can't really explain why this chicken bouillon powder successfully tastes like the chicken bouillon I've used for years, since no chicken is utilized.  But, it does.  And it's now become a staple of my pantry, ousting my old Wyler's jars.  I kinda wish I'd saved just one for storing this powder. 

I hope you enjoy this like we have!

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