Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chicken Stock for the Soul

Easy to digest and rich in colloidal vitamins, minerals and glutamate, good stock is said to raise the dead. Stock, coined as a health elixir can be traced back as far as ancient Egypt. Chicken stock, sometimes referred to as tea is believed to repair the mucus membranes of the small intestines, nerves, and digestion. The quality of stock is noted by its gelatinous consistency when cooled. The gelatin indicates that there is a significant proportion of protein, vitamins, and minerals to water. Cartilage from bones breaks down to gelatin.

More bones= more gelatin
boney parts = necks, backs, breastbone, wings


gravy base
flavoring for veggies
base for pilaf
base for soup

Making Stock

Choose the bird
Organic grass feed birds produce a stock with more gelatin. For simplicity, I'm using split broiler birds with back bone in.

2. Process the bird

Thoroughly wash the bird with cold water all over. Some use a brush with stiff brisles to clean the cavity. (Rinse with hot water after use and run through dishwasher)

Separate the bird at the joints. Crack some of the bones for maximun nutrient transfer.

3. Add to pot

Fill the pot 3/4 with (filtered) water. The bird should contribute to half the fullness of the pot. Bring the water to a boil to allow the "scum" to rise. Use a slotted spoon or whisk covered in cheese cloth to remove the scum that rises.

Notes: Some sources refer to scum as albumin. Some leave it in and believe it is of nutritional value others remove it due to cloudiness that it gives to the stock. It causes foam.

4. Add Mirepoix (Veggies)

Reduce heat to a simmer. Add additional veggies to increase nutrient content and flavor

Usual are carrots, celery, onion, leeks

*Will try to add kale, dandelion greens

5. Add Hard Herbs

Garlic, Pepper corns can be added now.

6. Add soft herbs

Soft herbs should be added at the end

7. Cool & Strain (Alton's method I'm Just here for the food p.203)
(I usually just use an ice bath)

Cook until the bones can be easily cracked. Cook the stock right away by placing it on a trivet in the sink and allowing cool water to run around the base and sides.

Strain into a glass (or other non reactive material) container. Alton Brown uses a cool method in his book I'm Just Here for the Food.

Caution: The growth of bacteria is held back at around 4 degrees C (40 degrees F)

8. De fat

Remove fat when the stock cools with a spoon. (I save mine for high temperature cooking.)

9. Store

Store for 7-10 days at 40 degrees in the fridge or Freeze into cubes or plastic containers.

Safe plastic containers(not known to leach harmful materials):

Polypropylene, designated "#5 PP"
High-density polyethylene, designated "#2HDPE"
Low-density polyethylene, designated "#4 LDPE"

Additional Resources:
Sally Fallon's Broth is Beautiful article


My Boys' Teacher said...


I clicked on over here from the Montessori book club. I laughed out loud when I saw what your blog is about and looked at your blog roll. It is really interesting sometimes how people who share one interest will share many interests. When I am not obsessively studying Montessori I am obsessively undergoing a "food conversion" a la "Cheeseslave" and "Kelly the Kitchen Kop" (do you read that one?). I have a feeling it is going to fascinating being blog partners with you. I am looking forward to taking some time to look at more of your blog.

busyhappymom said...

That is true for me too. Healthy living is important to me. While I am not perfect, I spend lots of time too creating meals that I feel are healthy for my family. "Let your food be your medicine, let your medicine be your food" I look forward to learning from you. You've inspired me to start sharing my thoughts with the world again. I've been neglecting this blog for a while. I've been studying Montessori :)
I've also been undergoing a conversion of my own- A Specific Carb diet. Cheeseslave is great. I haven't been to Kelly th Kitchen Kop, I'll have to check it out. Thanks.