There's no denying that homemade beef stock adds great flavor to sauces and soups. But if you don't have any on hand, Salbert wonders if there isn't a better alternative to canned beef broth, which can have an unpleasant metallic flavor. Chowhounds say umami-rich alternatives—which happen to be vegetarian—add real depth to both beef dishes and meatless preps.
A good mushroom broth actually contributes more complexity to a dish than beef broth does, soupkitten says. For even more flavor, mleighn adds red wine and a splash of soy sauce. If you don't have time to make mushroom broth, try soaking dried mushrooms, then reducing the strained soaking liquid for a similar effect, greygarious says. Or, to add a sense of meatiness without mushrooms, try adding miso paste, Fiona suggests.
Discuss: Substitute for Beef Broth
Photo of CHOW's Easy Mushroom Broth by Chris Rochelle / CHOW.com