Around the time I read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto and became more interested in eating more real food and less junk, I purchased Nourishing Traditions, which is sort of the bible of the "slow food" movement. I've yet to adopt many of its traditional practices, but I've successfully made homemade chicken stock and wanted to share the recipe.
What other recipe says, "You are loved" quite as well as chicken noodle soup from scratch?
First, I roasted a chicken (for the second time in my life.) It was a 6 1/2 lb chicken, and after cleaning it and patting it down (and removing the gizzards), I stuffed it with celery stalks and a quartered onion. Using a few tablespoons of butter, I rubbed the outside and put the rest under the skin, along with a mixture of a few teaspoons (combined) of garlic, thyme, and Italian seasoning. Then I squeezed a lemon over it, popped it in, and let it cook at 350 for about 2 1/2 hours (until the internal temperature reached 180), basting occasionally.
The chicken was moist and delicious. I could have made a good gravy, but instead I used the drippings in my stock. Jim cleaned most of the meat from the carcass, and I put it in the fridge for soup later.
As per Nourishing Traditions, I broke or cut all the bones in half, to release maximum flavor and nutrients.
Bones, skins. and pan drippings went into my stock pot along with
four quarts of cold water and
two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. I also added a
two smashed cloves of garlic, and
several carrots and celery stalks, cut into chunks, and
three bay leaves.
Let it stand for 45 minutes to allow the vinegar to draw minerals from the bones.
Then, bring to a boil, skim any scum that rises (I didn't actually have any), and turn the heat down to a simmer.
Let it simmer for anywhere from 6-24 hours. I set mine to low and let it go all night. Flavor takes time, and it's worth it. In the morning (after about 12 hours), I threw in a bunch of parsley and let it simmer another ten minutes. Then, I turned it off, fished out all the solids, and discarded them. After all that time, the veggies had given up all their goodness and any remainder meat had cooked too long to be very flavorful. (Remember, most of the meat was in my fridge, waiting for later.)
Strain the stock through a sieve and let cool. (I put mine out on the porch for a bit until it was cool enough to stick in the fridge--a perk of winter cooking.)
After a bit in the fridge, the fat will rise, and you can skim it off. (If you're making soup, you could probably just skip the whole cooling and skimming bit.) At this point, can or freeze your stock for future soups or recipes, or you make a delicious chicken noodle soup. I improvised, and it turned out beautifully.
Making Chicken Soup:
celery, carrots, garlic and an onion, sauteeing and sweating them a bit in the pot before adding my stock back.
Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. I added a teaspoon each of garlic,
2/3 tsp thyme
3 tsp parsley and
2 tsp salt. I added another tsp later but probably could have done with less.
I added 2/3 of a bag of noodles and let them cook for five minutes. Then I added my leftover chicken from the night before, and in a few minutes, it was ready to serve.
There you have it: lots and lots of nutritious meals made from Sunday dinner leftovers, a few carrots, onions, some celery, noodles, and spice. How great is that?
We enjoyed our soup tonight with this deliciously bread recipe. Oh. My. Goodness.
I'm clearly a newbie at traditional cooking, so if anyone wants to leave a tip, I'd love to hear yours. What are your favorite healthful foods to prepare?
Shared with Your Green Resource at SortaCrunchy, The Greenbacks Gal, A Delightful Home, and Live Renewed.
images: stock, carrots