how to make chicken stock (and my mum’s chicken soup)

If there’s one thing anyone serious about their health should learn to do, after learning how to poach eggs, it’s to make chicken or beef stock.

image21 how to make chicken stock (and my mum's chicken soup)

It’s wonderfully weekend-evocative for me (was that a very Nigella line right there?). In winter Mum would always put a big pot on the stove on Saturday and it would bubble away for hours, then Sunday lunch was chicken soup full of root vegetables and herbs.

Mostly as an adult I’ve been too impatient to make my own stock. But then I did. And (apologies to issue a very Jamie O line now) I’ve never looked back. I try to eat some stock or bone broth every day, either to braise vegetables for one of my mish mash meals or as a soup or stew.

As you might recall, I’ve already done a post on how to make bone broth. Bone broth is same-same-but-different as a stock, but is mostly bones (and thus full of gelatin and minerals from the bones themselves). Stock or standard meat broth uses meat and bones, or in the case of my recipe below, a whole chooken.

7 reasons to make your own stock

1. Stocks are beyond nutritious…

…a condensed cauldron of minerals and electrolytes in a form easy to assimilate.

2. They are great for anyone with digestion issues.

Stocks have a soothing effect on any areas of inflammation in the gut. That is why they aid digestion and have been known for centuries as healing folk remedies for the digestive tract. This from Sally Fallon: “The gelatin in meat broths has the unusual property of attracting liquids… The same property by which gelatin attracts water to form desserts, like Jello, allows it to attract digestive juices to the surface of cooked food particles….Gelatin acts first and foremost as an aid to digestion and has been used successfully in the treatment of many intestinal disorders, including hyperacidity, colitis and Crohn’s disease…

3. It’s an efficient way to get protein into your diet.

Again Sally: The gelatin in stocks also “acts as a protein sparer, allowing the body to more fully utilize the complete proteins that are taken in. Thus, gelatin-rich broths are a must for those who cannot afford large amounts of meat in their diets.”

4. The store-bought stuff is full of additives and salt and tastes like crap.

5. It’s economical.

You can get about 3 litres and 6-8 portions of meat from one chicken.

6. It’s a de-stresser.

Seriously. According to cookbook author Hanna Kroeger, it’s more relaxing than Tylenol because it has a “natural ingredient” that feeds, repairs and calms the mucous lining in the small intestine…which of course makes up a large part of our nervous system. Ergo all that “chicken soup for the soul” stuff.

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