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The Mistake Kardea Brown Says Will Strip The Flavor From Chicken Soup

Kardea Brown
Kardea Brown - Bob Levey/Getty Images

Chicken soup is one of the biggest stars of the comfort food category. Those warm, savory bowls provide wholesome energy and calm in sickness and health, so it's no wonder that all the diverse varieties of the dish are beloved around the world.

Southern chef and Food Network host Kardea Brown loves this classic comfort just like the rest of us and after years of experimenting, Brown has honed in on what cooking techniques work best for chicken soup. One of her most important tips for cooking the dish revolves around avoiding one mistake that can really break the meal.

According to Brown, failing to brown your ingredients before adding any liquids can strip the flavor from your chicken soup. Before you start simmering all your fresh vegetables and chicken parts in broth, you should be searing your meat and browning all the other ingredients together in a pot first. These two simple techniques help to release the maximum flavor from all your ingredients, and it's all thanks to one very important chemical process that only happens when you brown.

Read more: 15 Tricks For Making The Most Crispy Chicken Thighs Ever

Digging Into The Science Of This Essential Cooking Step

Chicken in cast-iron pan
Chicken in cast-iron pan - Candice Bell/Shutterstock

Browning the surface of the ingredients for your chicken soup brings a delicious, flavorful crust to their surfaces, and that's due to the chemical process known as the Maillard reaction. This is a natural process that occurs when food is browned and the chemicals within the dish react and change as they're exposed to high heat. All the proteins and sugars within the dish break down, releasing deep hidden flavors and aromatics that otherwise would remain contained. That's what makes browned food taste extra complex and delicious, making for a much more flavorful stew.

To reap the benefits of this process for your chicken soup, Kardea Brown shared with The Kitchn that she sears her chicken (both dark and white meat) in butter and oil first, infusing the meat with flavor while preventing it from sticking to the pan. She relies on this same process for her homemade broth too, letting the chicken bones and all the other vegetables brown before adding in any liquid. After those ingredients have all been browned, Brown finishes off the process by pouring some white wine into the pan and scraping all the caramelized fond up to bring into the broth. That simple combination of heat exposure and fat releases so many flavors from the ingredients, why not take the extra time to add this step to your chicken soup recipe?

Other Chicken Soup Tips From Kardea Brown

Chicken soup
Chicken soup - Nina Firsova/Shutterstock

Whether your homemade chicken soup will taste bland or packed with flavor is up to you. Dedicate a few extra minutes to searing your ingredients, as it really can make all the difference. Then, to further elevate this comfort classic, Kardea Brown has a few other simple tips to keep in mind that can take this dish from good to simply delicious.

For starters, as Brown shared on YouTube, when preparing your chicken for this dish, you should save the skin for another meal. Keeping the skin on your chicken results in an overly greasy, fatty soup, which can obscure all those other wholesome flavors. Next, don't skimp out on the garnishes. Brown opts to top her soup with parsley and green onion, adding both extra umami and herb flavors as well as some bold aesthetic flair. If you're using dried parsley, Brown suggests you sprinkle it on sparingly, as it will lend a much more concentrated, intense taste.

Chicken soup is a classic dish, and it's one that novice and experienced chefs alike should consider worth perfecting. With a few of Brown's tips and a little bit of heart, you can certainly get there.

Read the original article on Daily Meal