Thursday, February 9, 2012

How to make Delicious Rich Nutritious Stock

Throw out the bouillon cubes!  Better'n Bouillon is not the best!  The most delicious sauces and soups come from real homemade stock.  "But Jaye Anne," you say, "making homemade stock is a lot of work! And it's expensive! And how can I have real stock at a moment's notice... that's just ludicrous."

Oh do I have some exciting news for you!   But first...

My mother-in-law loves to feed my daughter.  Anything she will eat goes on her plate (she is in those, um, selective toddler years).  One day I came to pick her up and she was eating ramen noodles.  She was loving them!  To be fair, I love ramen noodles.  So salty, and extremely delicious with a generous sprinkling of cayenne pepper (or as my brother Nathan calls it, cai-yenne purperr).  So I joined the feeding-my-daughter-ramen party (again, selective baby; mommy wants her to eat!).

One fine day, I looked at the ingredient list and BEHOLD! First ingredient was salt, second ingredient was Monosodium Glutamate.  MSG!! A known neurotoxin!  To my baby!  Right then and there I vowed not to give her that flavoring packet and instead provide her with a soup base that was full of vitamins and minerals, and would improve her protein absorption.  Enter bone broths.

Bone broths are not only nutritious and more delicious than food products, they are not as difficult to make and keep as one would expect.  I will start with chicken (since that is the easiest one) and we will talk about others later.  Also, don't be put off by the chicken feet.  It is said that this is where Jewish chicken soup gets its magic...

Adapted from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
simmering the chicken carcass


One whole chicken
1/2 cup vinegar of any type
2 onions, quartered, skins left on
1 bunch celery, rinsed and roughly chopped, including tops and bottom
1 bunch parsley
about 6 cloves garlic, cut in half and skin left on
2 chicken feet (optional)
Filtered water (tons--probably around 20+cups)
Sea Salt (try pink Himalayan) and pepper

Place chicken on a roasting pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake in a 350-degree oven about 1 hour or until juices run clear.  Pick the meat off the chicken and save for a casserole or chicken soup or some other delicious food.   If you are starting with a carcass, you can skip this step.

Put all picked bones in a large stock pot.  Pour vinegar over bones and add just enough water to cover them.  Let sit for 1/2 an hour.

Add more water to fill the pot (leave at least an inch from the top) and put on medium heat.  It may take awhile to come to a simmer.

Skim off any foam that rises to the top.  The foam will produce off flavors and make your broth not as tasty. 

After skimming, add vegetables except parsley.  Let simmer, covered 12-24 hours.  The burner should be hot enough that there are bubbles coming up from the bottom, but not so hot that the bubbles push stuff around much.
10 minutes before you turn off the stock, add chopped parsley.
Turn off burner and strain bones and veggies out.
You can go through the bones once again and pick out any more meat to be used for soup (it's pretty much tasteless unless it's in a soup)
Add salt to taste.

This soup has tons of minerals in it with the added benefit of improving your protein absorption and usage, due to the gelatin in it.
Now let's talk about the money.
One chicken: about $6.  This is not necessarily fair because you are getting a meal or two out of the meat itself.  You would have thrown the bones away anyway.
celery: $2
parsley: $1
onions, garlic, water and salt: I'm going to go with about $2 total.
So 20+ cups broth costs about $10 if you don't use the chicken meat.  If you use the chicken meat for something else, then about $4.
Bouillon costs at least that much for 20+ cubes.

Now this discussion on money is useless if it is going to go bad in your fridge (it will keep about a week in the refrigerator).  Luckily, broth is easily frozen into whatever increments you desire or require for your meal.  If you don't have much space in your freezer, you can boil it down to a gel, refrigerate it like Jello, and cut it into pieces and freeze them individually or in ice cube trays.  Now there's a cube that's good for you!

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