Sarah Pope is a local chapter leader in Florida. She also blogs as The Healthy Home Economist.
Hello! Sarah Pope, The Healthy Home Economist and Weston A. Price Chapter Leader with you once again to demonstrate traditional preparation of stock and soups.
Most people would agree with the old adage that chicken soup is good for the soul as well as for colds and flu. It’s also a great remedy for digestive problems, arthritis, pain, and recovery from all sorts of illness. When it comes to how to truly prepare healthy soup from scratch, however, the majority of folks would not have a clue where to begin.
Let’s be very clear about the dangers of store bought soups, canned broth or stock, and bouillon cubes. They are never healthy options even when organic as they are loaded with neurotoxic MSG, and artificial flavors with little to no redeeming nutritional benefit.
This is due to the rise of agribusiness which, since the 1950s, caused the consumer to gradually lose contact with a local butcher who would sell them a variety of bony leftovers which our thrifty forebears would use to make nutritious stocks and soups.
Almost all culinary traditions from around the world include meat or fish stocks, yet the stockpot has almost completely disappeared from American kitchens.
Dr. Francis Pottenger promoted the stockpot as the most important piece of equipment in the kitchen. He advocated liberal use of homemade stock because it attracts digestive juices to itself in a manner similar to raw foods. Foods that attract digestive juices are much more easily digested and assimilated by the body.
Homemade stock also contains natural gelatin which not only aids digestion but also assists with the healing of many chronic intestinal disorders such as colitis, Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and others
During time of frugality, homemade stock helps keep the food budget in check by allowing health to be maintained with only small amounts of meat in the diet. This is due to large amounts of 2 amino acids in the broth which act together as a protein sparer, allowing more efficient utilization of the complete meat proteins that are eaten once or twice a week.
Homemade stock used frequently in the diet offers protection from gastrointestinal illness, as the natural gelatin acts a neutralizer of intestinal poisons helping to relieve diarrhea and even dysentery.
Chicken stock is the ideal stock to make first when you venture to resurrect this age old culinary tradition in your own kitchen.
All that is required is one good quality chicken, preferably from a local farm that practices pasturing of its poultry.
You can make chicken stock using either a whole uncooked chicken or with just the leftover bones from which you have removed all the usable meat.
To make the stock from a whole chicken, place the bird into a large stockpot and just cover with filtered water. You may add the feet to the water as well if you are able to get these from your farmer. Chicken feet impart a lot of extra gelatin to the broth. If you are making the stock from leftover bones, you may want to brown the bones first in the oven, for extra flavor.
Add ¼ cup of vinegar and stir. Add 1 large onion and 2-3 carrots and celery stalks – all chopped if desired. The vegetables add additional minerals to the stock but can be omitted in a pinch.
Let stand for about 30 minutes to let the vinegar begin to draw the minerals into the water.
Bring water to a boil and skim off any foam that comes to the top. This foam consists of impurities and off flavors.
Reduce heat and let simmer for a minimum of 6 and up to 24-48 hours. About 10 minutes before taking the stock off the heat, add a bunch of parsley to add even more minerals to the broth.
Remove the whole chicken or bones. If you used a whole chicken, let cool and remove the meat from the carcass. This meat is wonderful for chicken salads, sandwiches or Mexican dishes. Soft leftover bones may be given to your pet or discarded.
Strain the stock into a large bowl and keep in the refrigerator until the fat comes to the top. Skim off the fat and reserve in small glass bowls for sauteing vegetables.
Store the stock in quart-sized or half gallon containers. Stock kept in the refrigerator will keep for about 5 days. Freeze what you will not use within that time.
Making turkey, duck or goose stock basically follows the exact same process.
While the best beef stock is made with a variety of bones – knuckle, tail, marrow and meaty rib or neck – you can make beef stock from whatever types of bones you have on hand in a pinch.
The best beef bones can be obtained from a local grassbased beef farm. These farms typically sell them labeled as “soup bones”.
You can also obtain beef bones from a local butcher although the quality won’t be quite as good.
To make, place any knuckle, marrow, or foot bones in a large pot filled with enough filtered water to cover. Add ½ cup of vinegar, stir, and let stand for about one hour.
Place the meaty rib or neck bones in a roasting pan and brown at 350 degrees F, 20 minutes per side.
After browning, add these bones to the stockpot and pour the fat into a small glass bowl and reserve in the refrigerator for roasting vegetables.
Add a small amount of cold water to the bottom of the roasting pan and heat up over the burner using a wooden spatula to loosen any dried juices on the bottom of the pan.
Add this liquid to the stockpot as well along with with 3 onions, carrots and celery all coarsely chopped.
Bring the stockpot to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the top. Grassfed bones produce significantly less scum than bones from a conventionally raised cow.
Reduce the heat and simmer for a minimum of 12 and as long as 72 hours. 10 minutes before finishing, add a bunch of parsley to the simmering water to add even more minerals.
Remove the pot from the heat and strain. The meat can be reserved for sandwiches or Mexican dishes and the bones and vegetables discarded. Make sure to remove any marrow from the bones first as this is delicious spread on crackers or toast!
Store the broth in quart or half gallon containers in the refrigerator and freeze what you will not use within 5 days or so.
Stock that is left more than a week in the refrigerator can be reboiled and safely used.
Note that lamb, buffalo, and venison stock are made in the same way as beef stock.
I hope this video tutorial has inspired you to make a pot of chicken or beef stock as soon as possible. There are few additions to your kitchen routine that will have as much beneficial impact on your family’s health! Once you have several quarts of stock on hand, you can make all your favorite soups using this authentic, traditional stock in place of any canned or tetrapack versions from the store. You can also use the stock to make delicious sauces and gravies.
For even more information about the benefits of homemade stock, be sure to refer to the Weston A. Price Foundation website.
This is Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist and Chapter Leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation wishing you all the best in the kitchen.