Friday, 1 June 2012

Stock-ed Up!

The food story I want to bring you today is all about chicken stock.

Anyone who cooks regularly, uses stock regularly. We have always used the powdered varieties and not thought twice about it. After reading about all the wondrous goodness that real, home-made bone stocks contain we thought we might give it a go. Home made stocks are "an easily digestible, nutrient dense food. It's an incredibly rich source of minerals - especially calcium and trace elements pulled from bone as they cook - all in a bioavaliable form. Bone stocks are especially valuable, as they contain gelatine, which enables food to be digested more easily." (Jude Blereau Whole foods for children)

In traditional cultures chicken stock has been used as a healing food for centuries.

To create chicken stocks you obviously need chickens. We had naively never cut a whole chicken into its parts before, but once we got this figured out we were flying. We actually discovered how economical it was to buy 4 free range chooks and split it into its bits. You end up with, 8 breasts, 8 thighs, 8 drumsticks and the carcases you need for 4 or 5 litres of gorgeous stock. So really your set up for your chicken intake for a good couple of weeks.

So here's the recipie as per Jude Blereau's book Wholefoods for Children

2 chicken carcasses with wings and feet (if attached)
3 carrots, roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 onion, quartered
4 thyme sprigs
4 bay leaves
4 parsley sprigs
2 sage leaves
4 black peppercorns
1/4 C white wine or 2t of apple cider vinegar

Place the ingredients in a large, heavy based saucepan and add 3 litres (12 cups) or enough water to cover. Bring to just below boiling point, then reduce the heat to very low, cover with a lid, slightly ajar, and simmer for 3-12 hours /9the longer the better), skimming the scum - but not the valuable fat- from the surface regularly.You may need to top up with more water several times during cooking.

Strain the stock and discard the solids. Cool the stock to room temperatures and divide into containers (we usually do 250ml  and 500ml tubs as that is what we use) and either refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Our Verdict
Oh My God... why did we not discover this earlier! It is so different to powdered stock! It is rich and delicious and you can feel your body soaking up all the goodness. All of our meals with stock in them have now taken on a beautiful new richness that we adore. We also use it as a standby for any one with a funny tummy. or feeling run down and can turn it into a quick and wonderfully healing chicken soup.

We are addicted and really enjoying adding stock making to our regular pantry top up. Its really very easy, its just getting it organised and once its all in the pot you forget about it.

I highly recommend that you try making some chicken stock, particularly at this time of year when a cold in always at the ready. If you do let me know! What did you think?

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