Broth, stock are virtually the same

BURNING QUESTIONS

October 11, 2006|By Erica Marcus | Erica Marcus,Newsday

What is the difference between vegetable broth and vegetable stock?

None, really. The words "broth" and "stock" originate in the meat world and, once upon a time, they referred to two distinctly flavored liquids.

In classic French cooking, stock is a liquid made by simmering bones, aromatic vegetables and seasonings in water for a few hours. Once the water has extracted all the flavor from the other ingredients, they are thrown out. The French word for stock is fond, and a good stock is the foundation for innumerable soups, sauces and braises.

Unlike stock, broth (bouillon in French) connotes a liquid that is a byproduct of simmering meat (or poultry or fish) in water. You eat the meat, then you're left with the broth. Vegetables are constitutionally incapable of being turned into either a true stock (they have no bones) or a true broth (the time it takes to cook them properly is too brief to produce a flavorful liquid).

Nowadays in America, the distinction between broth and stock doesn't really exist. What comes in cans is usually called broth, and what gets made from scratch in home or restaurant kitchens is usually called stock.

Erica Marcus writes for Newsday. E-mail your queries to burningquestions@newsday.com, or send them to Erica Marcus, Food/Part 2, Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Road, Melville, N.Y. 11747-4250.

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