Do you ever wonder how people cooked before the invention of convenience foods? I never really thought about it while growing up or as a new bride. Canned and boxed foods lined my cupboard shelves. In fact, I thought pouring a box of macaroni into boiling water and adding milk, butter, and the little white package of cheese was cooking from scratch. After all, we hadn’t ordered out. . .
I still laugh at myself the first time I met Travis’s family. I’d been invited to lunch and the smells meandering from the kitchen were enough to make me surreptitiously check for drool. We sat down to freshly mashed potatoes, tender roast beef with homemade gravy, and apple pie (with a real crust!).
It was all made from scratch.
I don’t think Travis had any notion that he’d soon go from his mom’s home-cooking to boxed mac and cheese.
That was probably a good thing.
Thankfully since then, I’ve learned to make stocks – the basis for turning ‘blah’ dishes into something delicious. And don’t let the canned stuff from the store fool ya. They’re loaded with sodium and MSG and aren’t nearly as tasty.
Sometimes a recipe calls for broth over stock. Honestly, I use them interchangeably. But there are some small differences. . .
stock: This consists of bones (i.e. beef bones, or chicken/turkey carcass) which are roasted dry, and then boiled and simmered for several hours with vegetables (usually onions, carrots, celery, and an assortment of spices).
I add vinegar to the water according to the Nourishing Traditions style as it pulls more minerals (calcium, magnesium, and potassium) from the bones. Stock is more gelatinous than broth and that in itself adds numerous health benefits. Gelatin aids in digestion, allows the body to utilize protein better, and has been used to treat muscular dystrophy, diabetes, Crohn’s, and colitis.
I usually make stock more often because we eat a lot of roasted chicken so we have plenty of bones. I also take the juices from the roasting pan and save that right along with the bones. This makes TO DIE FOR chicken soup. The canned variety doesn’t hold a candle to this!
broth: This is meat simmered in stock or water. When making chicken broth, most people just throw in the whole chicken. When it’s done you can strain the meat and save for use in casseroles or stirfrys. The color and flavor is lighter than stock, and it isn’t as rich or hearty. But if we have old hens that need to go, I use them for broth because their tough meat isn’t good for much else.
Some would say that stock is best for gravies and sauces while broth is better for cooking rice and pastas. Again, I regard them as one and the same but I generally make more stock so that’s what I use.
Making your own stock/broth might sound intimidating at first, but throwing a chicken carcass from last night’s dinner in a stock pot and letting it simmer all day long really isn’t any more complicated than boiling water. If you are not convinced by taste alone, the health benefits should win you over!
Chicken Stock/Broth (casein-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, sugar-free, yeast-free, anti-candida, low-carb)
1 whole chicken (or 2-3 lbs. chicken parts, i.e. necks, backs, wings) OR 3-4 lbs. of chicken bones, broken to let marrow seep out (adds flavor and minerals)
gizzards from one chicken (optional)
2-4 chicken feet (makes it gelatinous)
4 qts. water
2 T. apple cider vinegar
1 lg. onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 bunch parsley
1. If using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and remove the neck, fat glands, and gizzards. Cut chicken into several pieces. Or throw in 2-3 lbs. chicken bones. Be sure to break some of the bones in half so the bone marrow and minerals can seep out.
2. Place chicken pieces or just bones into a large stock pot with 4 qts. of water, vinegar, onions, carrots, and celery. Let stand 30 min. to 1 hr. Do not heat water.
3. Bring water to a boil and skim off the scum that rises to the top. If this scum is left in the stock it will ruin the flavor. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6-8 hrs. (The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful. I’ve let it go for 24 hours.) About 10 min. before cooking time is done, add parsley.
4. Strain the stock, removing the chicken pieces, vegetables, and bones. Let them cool and remove the meat for other uses. (I usually freeze the vegetables and meat for chicken soup.)
5. Pour the stock into a large container and refrigerate. Skim off layer of fat that forms on top. (I don’t bother with this – animal fat is good for you.)
6. Pour remaining stock into pint jars (equivalent to 14 oz. cans) and freeze. However, I would not recommend filling jars to the top or they will expand when freezing and crack the glass. Speaking from experience!
This recipe is low-carb if you remove the vegetables rather than keeping them in. Depending on what you put in your stock, the average net carbs is 1g – 2.5g per cup.
P.S. Interested in making fish stock? Look no further.
Don’t know where to purchase some of these ingredients? Visit our Whole Food Sources page.
Shared with: Melt in Your Mouth Mondays, Flour Me With Love, The Healthy Home Economist, New Life on a Homestead, Nourishing Treasures, The Modest Mom Blog, Real Food Forager, Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, Vintage Wannabee, Young Living Oil Lady, Delicious Obsessions, Chef in Training, Time-Warp Wife, Far Above Rubies, Growing Home, Gluten Freely Frugal, Women Living Well, Frugally Sustainable, Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Confessions of an Overworked Mom, The Gluten-Free Homemaker, This Chick Cooks, Deep Roots at Home, Day 2 Day Joys, Raising Homemakers, GNOWFGLINS, A Delightful Home, It’s A Keeper, Our Simple Country Life, The Nourishing Gourmet, Comfy in The Kitchen, Real Food Freaks, Creative Christian Mama, Real Food Whole Health, Food Renegade,