The weather cooled rapidly here last week and with the changing breeze came a few sniffles and coughs, my first thought was to cook chicken broth.
Home made broth is one of the most nutritionally dense wholefoods that you can add to your diet. It is made by simmering bones of chicken, fish or beef with vegetable scraps, traditionally carrot, celery and onion and herbs such as parsley, thyme and bay leaves. (The difference between broth and stock in case you are wondering, according to this post on The Kitchn, is seasoning - broth is seasoned with salt and pepper, stock is not).
Wholefoods legend and cookbook author, Sally Fallon, dedicates a whole chapter to stocks in her wholefoods bible Nourishing Traditions. On page 116 she writes, "Properly prepared, meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate. Acidic wine or vinegar added during cooking helps to draw minerals particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, into the broth."
Need I say more? Well yes I had because I know there will some of you out there who are phobic about the process of making stock, "it's time consuming", "the straining is messy" and so on. Changing your mindset is as important when embarking down this wholefood path as changing what is in your pantry.
It is so important to replace thoughts about cooking from scratch as time consuming with reminders of how nourishing real food is and how vital it is for long term good health of people and planet. Processed food cannot do this. The cost of convenience in the long term is often illness. Pre made stocks found on the supermarket shelf are generally full of nasties, lots of numbers, flavour enhancers and way too much salt. To really get the low down on this check out Claire's excellent post on her Real Food Real Change facebook post about commercially made stock. And don't miss Australia's Queen of Stock, Alexx Stuart's post 10 reasons to make your own stock.
Wholefood chef Jude Blereau writes about stock in her excellent book Wholefood for Children:
"Bone stocks have been used by just about all traditional cultures for nourishment and healing - Dr Alfred Vogel, one of the early organic, wholefood and natural food advocates, describes their use in Europe for healing; in New York, chicken soup is known as Jewish penicillin (chicken fat contains palmitoleic acid - a powerful immune-boosting monosaturated fat); and throughout Asia, fish stock is believed to be the restorer of chi (life force), and is also a rich source of iodine."
This is how I make my chicken stock:
2 organic chicken carcasses (and yes it does make a difference whether they are organic or not)
1 medium brown onion chopped
1 large carrot chopped
2 sticks celery with leaves chopped
4 whole black peppercorns
1-2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
For a nourishing vegetarian stock or broth, simmer some celery, carrot, onion, ginger, garlic and shitake mushrooms in a pot with filtered water.
Go on, give this a go during the week.
Happy cooking! Tune in on Tuesday for a new series - what's for dinner?
Share your thoughts and stories about stock in the comments below.