Sunday, November 21, 2010

Basic Chicken Stock

No nourishing household should be without this powerhouse of a simple nourishing food. It takes some planning and some being home but otherwise is not time-consuming and so rewarding. By simmering a whole chicken all day you are making the most of this animal because you are getting all the minerals out of the chickens bones and all the gelatin out of the cartilage. Home-made Chicken broth is the number one source for non-dairy calcium. If you are sick you absolutely have to have home-made broth to recover quickly and that is not the time to start making it, so having some on hand is a good insurance especially in the winter. Homemade broth is a better alternative to gatorade when you need to replenish electrolytes. So here is the recipe. It will be second nature before too long and routine in your life and you won't want to miss the flavor of soups made with real chicken stock.

1 whole chicken, preferrably organic or local pasture-raised, can be cut up

1 onion

2 carrots

3 stalks celery

4-5 quarts water

vinegar and parsley, optional

You will need a fairly big stock pot for this. Cut the chicken apart into legs, arms, wings. Don't add the giblets, but do add the neck. Pour in the water. For a small chicken I use 4 quarts for a bigger one 5 quarts. It's up to you. Chop up the vegetables and add to water. At this point if you want to fine-tune you add a shot of vinegar which pulls the minerals out of the bones more. Bring to a boil and simmer 6-24 hours. The longer the better for taste and mineral content. If you want to fine-tune again add a bunch of fresh parsley for the last ten minutes before turning it off. It adds some more nutrients (I forgot which ones).

I usually take the chicken meat off after 2-3 hours and return the rest of the bones etc. into the pot to cook. Now you have some wonderful cooked chicken for chicken salad, enchiladas, quesedillas, soups or whatever recipe uses cooked chicken.

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