Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Good Broth Resurrects the Dead" - South American Proverb

A homemade, hearty broth will do wonders for your family, from relieving a stomach flu to improving overall digestion.  This is why it's so unfortunate that in our hurry up and go lifestyle, very few people still make stock in their homes.  Especially when it's so simple to do!  And the benefits of consuming the minerals and gelatin that steep into the broth are certainly worth the effort!

"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.  Dr. Francis Pottenger, author of the famous cat studies as well as articles on the benefits of gelatin in broth, taught that the stockpot was the most important piece of equipment to have in the kitchen." Excerpt from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

The French were the leaders in gelatin research, which continued up to the 1950s. Gelatin was found to be useful in the treatment of a long list of diseases including peptic ulcers, tuberculosis, diabetes, muscle diseases, infectious diseases, jaundice and cancer. Babies had fewer digestive problems when gelatin was added to their milk. The American researcher Francis Pottenger pointed out that as gelatin is a hydrophilic colloid, which means that it attracts and holds liquids, it facilitates digestion by attracting digestive juices to food in the gut. Even the epicures recognized that broth-based soup did more than please the taste buds. “Soup is a healthy, light, nourishing food” said Brillant-Savarin, “good for all of humanity; it pleases the stomach, stimulates the appetite and prepares the digestion.” Excerpt from Broth is Beautiful by Sally Fallon Morell.

Bones from 1 Whole Free Range, Organic Chicken  (Roast and Carve the chicken for a meal, chop up meat to use in soups, freeze meat for later use, make a casserole, go nuts! so many things to do with roasted chicken meat!) **See below for reasons why I use Whole Free Range, Organic Chicken
Chicken Neck and Organ Meats (found inside bag, chop up neck - Mine still had the head on!  Eek! But all good stuff!)
Feet (Kinda creepy, but lots of gelatin in these bad boys... very nutritious!)
Enough Cold Filtered Water to Cover Bones
2 Tablespoons of Vinegar (I like Apple Cider Vinegar)
1 Large Onion, coarsely chopped
2 Carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 Ribs of Celery, well cleaned and coarsely chopped
1 Bunch Parsley

I like to use a pot that has a colander that fits inside the pot for easy straining of the big pieces once the stock is done.

Toss all the bones, gizzards, meats, feet into the pot.  Pour enough cold filtered water into pot just to cover the bones.  Add Vinegar and vegetables, but withhold the parsley.

Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to simmer and cover pot.

Let simmer 4 hours (longer is fine if you want to leave it and forget about it a while).

Throw in Parsley and let simmer 10 more minutes.

Strain liquid from Pot and store in tight lidded jars or containers.

Freeze in small, glass, serving sized containers and reheat on stove top (place glass container in sauce pan with 1-2 cups of water around it - enough to cover up to an inch and a half of the bottom of the glass container - and let the water boil around the container to loosen the block of ice broth.  Then toss into your recipe, either completely dethawed or still partially icy, once you're able to remove from storage container).

** Whole Organic, Free Range Chicken: It's another casualty of this hurry up and go lifestyle.  It's also a casualty of the effects that growing industry has had on our food.  At this time, 80%+ of the chickens in our grocery stores are being supplied by 4 mega companies, the biggest of these being Tyson.  While they place images on their lables of farms and talk about their happy chickens, this is so far from the truth.  These chickens have been steered genetically to grow almost twice as big in half the time on diets that aren't natural to their diet (feed that has been modified and processed itself) and in environments that are dark and jam packed with chickens (poor buddies).  Since they live on top of each other, wade through each others feces and breath unclean air all day, they are fed antibiotics (which don't disappear from their "meat" when we eat them... hum, what do you think that does to us?).  But it sure is cheap to raise them this way, and boy do these companies rake in the profits (while these "farmers" stay poor might I add, making around $18,000/year).

So, one may say it's "too expensive" to buy organic, free range poultry, but isn't this the cost of the chicken?  And what the average consumer is paying for is the discounted, mass produced, industrial "meat"?

While we're at it, research "battery chickens" and find out why I only buy organic, free range eggs!


  1. Hi Maggie - Some great advice in here -
    thanks much - will pass on. As a Jewish Mom/cook wanted to share a short cut
    for that adds good flavor - if you
    brown the chicken bones a bit with
    some onion and garlic, the flavor
    absolutely pops, and then you can
    add the water and still simmer for
    two+ hours, and get all the
    goodies from the gelatin, just
    get to eating sooner. I also
    like to put in turnips. Another
    nice addition learned from Persian
    friends is to add some turmeric
    (an excellent seasoning that I
    believe aids digestion) to underscore
    the nice golden-yellow color.
    My friend Naomi also adds half
    of a raw beet and a slice of raw
    ginger while the soup simmers -
    adding to flavor and color -
    removed before serving.
    Thanks for letting me add
    my two cents, and congrats
    on starting your blog!

  2. Oooh, those are GREAT additions! And you know what? One thing pops out at me, Turmeric was found to reduce cancer cells and is great for cancer prevention. I read this a while back, so unfortunately I don't have the source, but I'll have to google. Also, anything that adds flavor is definitely fantastic, plus all those healthy little additions pack some serious nutrients! I'm excited to make next weeks stock using some of your tips! Thanks :)

  3. What can't Turmeric do? I'm always looking for ways to add it to my food, so into the stock it goes :) Thanks again.