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Good soup. It’s really all about the broth.
This is a comment I find myself making on a regular basis to my husband and friends when I serve them some of my homemade soup. I love being in the kitchen, and at this time of year I often crave soup. I’ll also stand by my statement that a good soup is really all about the broth. It provides so much tasty flavor and satiates me like nothing else.
I have a weekly ritual of roasting a whole chicken for dinner. We enjoy the aromas in our home during the roasting and get to sit down to a warm, nourishing meal. Instead of throwing out the leftover meat and bones, I use the scraps to make stock. I store it in the freezer, so I can have a convenient supply on hand to use for the bases of soups and for cooking vegetables. Real stock has become part of my diet and part of my efforts to live naturally and sustainably.
A number of years ago, I was introduced to bone broth. I admit that I was a little squeamish about the idea of it at first, but I soon came around to realizing that I should give it a try. I was initially convinced to try it because of its stellar nutritional profile. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that it was also delicious and really affordable. Now I have lots of experience using real bone broth and feel saddened when my freezer supply runs out. It is a way that I incorporate food as medicine into my daily life. It also really appeals to my wish to live as sustainably as I can. Traditional cultures and cooking always used up all the animal parts. Nowadays we simply take the pieces we want and toss out the rest, creating a lot of waste.
The stellar nutritional profile….
Stock contains a number of minerals: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It also has chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine from cartilage and tendons. Stock also becomes gelatin when it cools, and gelatin was always considered a medicine. This medicine was known to the ancient Chinese, and in fact, it’s still included in several herbal formulas for providing sustenance and supporting the yin. Gelatin was nothing short of the center stage medicine 200 years ago. Back then it was known to act as a protein sparer, which means that it stretched small protein meals stretch into complete meals. Later on in the 1950’s, an American researcher, Francis Pottenger found that gelatin is a hydrophilic colloid. This means that it attracts and holds liquids. So stock was therapeutic for digestion by attracting digestive juices to food in the gut.
How to make bone broth yourself
First of all, it’s super easy to do this. You can do it, really! You can make stock from just about any leftover meat you have (with bones that is). Whole chicken leftovers, beef or lamb (must be browned in oven first, not raw), or even fish (with fish heads if you have them) are all fair game.
- Throw your meat and bones into a large pot. You want to have a pot that contains mostly bones, and meat in lesser proportion. (Personally, I think roasted whole chicken leftovers are the tastiest).
- Add a handful of whatever vegetables you like for flavor (carrots, onions, etc).
- Pour in cold water to cover the bones, meat and vegetables by at least 2 inches. I pour cold water nearly to the top of my stockpot.
- Add 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to help extract the minerals.
- Heat the broth and once it reaches a boil, reduce temperature to low heat.
- Colloids (or froth) will rise to the surface. Simply remove it with a spoon as it cooks. (This is essential).
- You can cook the stock on low heat for a minimum of 3 hours and up to several days (for larger animals like beef, with large knuckle bones).
- Stock will keep for a few days in the fridge, so you can freeze it once it has cooled for longer storage.
Once you have a supply of stock, try this recipe for delicious, nutritious, homemade pho.
- Pour 1 quart of chicken stock and 1 quart of filtered water into a pot and bring to a simmer.
- Add 1/3 C fish sauce, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 star anise, 1 chopped shallot, 2 inches of fresh ginger root sliced, and 3 garlic cloves mashed to the broth.
- Add 1-2 chicken breast (uncooked and cut in small bite size pieces) or leftover roasted chicken meat torn into small pieces
- Cook at least until meat is thoroughly cooked
- Add tamari or salt to taste
- Cook rice noodles or substitute sautéed kale. Fill the bottom of each dinner bowl with either noodles or kale or both.
- Chop basil, cilantro, mint and green onions. Put a handful or two in each of your dinner bowls and pour the soup on top.