We had a big snow storm last week, but it finally looks like spring might be on its way. Of course now that spring's almost here I'm finally getting around to posting the one recipe I wanted to post the most all winter. I guess I kept putting it off because how in the world do you say all there is to say about the benefits of making your own chicken broth all in one post.
I think just about everyone knows that when you're feeling under the weather chicken soup is the perfect food. It's kind of a funny tradition that's been passed down because most chicken soups or broth found at the store are exactly what you shouldn't be eating when you're sick. These tend to be full of preservatives and MSG. But real chicken broth (also known as "Jewish Penicillin") . . . let's find out what that's all about and why it's so good for you!
1. First, homemade broth is delicious and full of flavor. You just can't compare it to anything bought at the store. This is how the finest European restaurants make their soups.
2. Homemade broths are part of a fugal budget. I can't believe I used to roast a whole chicken and throw out the carcass. What a waste of money when all I had to do was boil up the bones to make a delicious, practically free, nutrient dense meal.
3. Homemade broths are a great source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, and other minerals. When making your broth these minerals are drawn out of the bones making it mineral rich. Adding a tablespoon or two of raw apple cider vinegar to your broth in the beginning helps to draw out the minerals too.
4. Homemade broths are rich in gelatin. You might be surprised when you pull your leftover chicken soup out of the fridge that it jiggles like jello. This is a good thing and means you made a great batch of broth! Gelatin is an important part of our diet in that it aids digestion and had been used to successfully treat many intestinal disorders and is powerful in healing the gut (and most of us could use some healing there weather we know it or not). Adding gelatin to your diet also gives you healthy hair and nails!
5. Homemade broths are nutrient dense and boost the immune system. Chicken soup has natural ingredients that feed, repairs, and calms the nervous system. It also reduces allergies, treats asthma and colds, and mitigates disease.
Doesn't homemade broth sound fantastic? This is just a drop in the bucket too. Feel free to do your own research to find out more. I really like this article from the Weston Price foundation titled Broth is Beautiful.
Nourishing Chicken Soup with Homemade Broth
1 whole free range chicken
Cold filtered water (starting with cold water draws out a richer flavor in the chicken)
1 tablespoon Real Salt
1-2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar (I like Braggs)
2 tablespoons butter, preferably grass-fed
1 large onion, diced
1 bunch of celery, diced
7-8 carrots, peeled and chopped into coins
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
8 oz. noodle of choice, cooked according to package directions. (I really like to use these Tinkyada Brown Rice Noodles when making soups. They have a great texture and hold up well in liquid)
1. Place chicken to a large pot and add water until chicken is mostly covered. Add salt and a splash or two of vinegar. Bring to a boil. Use a spoon to skim off any foam that forms on the top. Reduce heat and cover. Let simmer for about two hours.
2. Remove chicken from pot. Trim off meat and cut into bite size pieces. Place chicken in fridge until later. Add bones and carcass back to pot. Simmer another hour or two.
3. Strain broth through a metal sieve into a large bowl. Set aside temporarily. Melt butter in pot. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Saute until onion is tender. Return strained broth to pot with vegetables and simmer until carrots are tender. Add cooked noodles, chicken, and garlic if adding. Salt to taste. Serve with warm buttered bread.