There is nothing quite as nourishing to the stomach, or soul, as homemade Chicken Soup. The best Chicken soup starts with real homemade, simmer all day, Chicken Stock. It is much simpler than you think, doesn't require much work, just a little planning ahead. I started making my own stock about 4 years ago when I read "Food to Live By" which is a cookbook written by the owner of Earthbound Farms--Myra Goodman. I've made it a million different ways since then, only making significant changes when I found the Weston Price Foundations and embraced the Traditional cooking methods of
absorb. These include real, natural gelatin and you will see the difference in the gelatinous texture when cooled. Without access to Chicken feet, which I don't think the average person has, this is the most nutrition-packed recipe I could concoct. Once you taste the real stuff you will never buy another can on Swanson! I have included three versions, these all make amazing stock you can use for much more than soup.
Chicken Stock With Meat
1 whole organic or pastured Chicken with Gizzards if possible
5 carrots, ends cut off
1 large yellow or Vidalia Onion, peel removed, cut in half
2 Garlic Cloves (more if you love Garlic)
The center part of Celery (the part with the skinny stalks and leaves)
Any other extra veggies you have lying around*
1 TBS of Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
Optional: Fresh herbs if available--Oregano, Sage, Rosemary, or Parsley
1 TBS of Italian Seasoning
1 tsp of ground Sage dried
Get the largest pot you have. If you are lucky enough to have one with a pasta insert, this will save you a lot of time at the end. Add all of the ingredients, then cover with cold water. (Very important that it is COLD!) Leave room at the top for foaming. Bring to a boil on high, removing foam as it appears on top, and then cover and reduce to 2 settings higher than low (3 on my stove). Let simmer as long as possible, but no less than 3 hours, all day if possible. Maintain the stove setting so it does not boil over. If you need to be away from the house and don't want to leave your stove on, you can do all of the above with a Crock Pot, use the high setting for an hour or two if possible and then cut back. In the Crock, it will need to simmer all day, if possible as long as 24 hours. I don't like to use the Crock when I am making stock from a whole chicken, because sometimes the meat is soggy and can't be used for chicken salad. But when making stock from only bones (next recipe), the crock is fine.
When done simmering, pull all ingredients out. This is where you will be thankful if you have a pasta insert. Discard all veggies except the carrots, and all gizzards except the liver. With a potato masher, or your fingers, mash the carrots and liver into a pulp and add back to the liquid. When cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the chicken and reserve for soup, casserole, or chicken salad. If you let the meat get cold or store with the bones in, in the fridge, it will be very hard to pull off the bone later. You can store stock in the fridge for 3-4 days, and freeze extra after that. I am experimenting with ideas to freeze different portions of stock...blog post to come later.
|Look at that color!|
Here's another option:
Chicken Stock with Bones--Roasted or Smoked
During the cold months, my favorite thing is to Roast Chicken. In the summer, I send all my whole chickens to my husband and his smoker. This leaves me with a lot of flavorful bones. The stock that comes from that rich flavor of Chicken that has been roasted or smoked is not to be missed. Save the bones by freezing them if you don't roast enough Chicken in one week. You can also use bones from Chicken you have Grilled.**
Ingredients and Directions same as above, substitute the bones of 2 or more chickens or equivalent parts for 1 whole Chicken in the recipe above. If using Smoked Chicken only add onion, the smokey flavor will not allow any of the veggies to come through.**
Benefits of Homemade Stock
1. Using something you would normally throw away.
2. The addition of vinegar breaks down the Calcium and Phosphorous in the Bones making it readily available for your absorption.
3. Good Stock will do most of the work for you in a recipe. Rice, Quinoa, or Polenta cooked in homemade stock will rival anything you can order at a restaurant.
*I know this part isn't specific, but anything you don't think you will eat before it spoils, throw it in..broccoli is the only thing I've put in that I was disappointed with. Bell Peppers, Beets, Green Beans, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes...all of these will add dimension and flavor to your stock without overpowering it.
**Grilled Chicken won't change the flavor that much unless there is a considerable amount of charred meat or bones. Smoked Chicken makes a stock very unique to itself. My favorite way to use Smoked Stock is to cook beans or greens in it, add it to my barbecue sauce, or use it to supplement the smoky flavor of a dish I am putting Bacon or ham in.
Love and Butter,