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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Strong Chicken Soup for Whatever Ails You

It's been a good long time since I've been here to post something new. Since before the holidays! I have some recipes saved up, but I thought I'd return with this timely soother. I have been sick for a week. At this very moment, I'm missing both a baby shower for my cousin and an art opening for my daughter. (Please note: I cannot be two places at once, even when well.) This is my second batch of this great soup and I hope it will get me through the next week.

You may have seen several articles about the benefits of bone broth. The collagen, calcium and protein that can be released into broth through slow cooking is a tasty miracle. There is something about long-cooked broth that feels nourishing and rich. I have learned to use my 7 quart crock pot to good advantage. I'm grateful that this soup needed so little prep and supervision. Any soup can be a bit of magic. Part of the magic is using what feels especially good for you, personally. My soup started with a fancy chicken, veg and filtered water. I've heard of people keeping broth going in the crock pot for days. I had this broth going for over 24 hours. After the first 6 hours of cooking, I removed the chicken, separated and held out the meat and returned everything else back to the pot. I set it for another 1o hours on low so I could make soup the next day. (That is the longest my crock pot will go before converting to the warm setting. I will reset it any number of times until I am ready to strain it.)  If you leave the meat much longer, it will become too mushy. With this timing, the meat, bones and skins separate easily, but the meat still has a good texture.

Chicken Bone Broth
4 ribs celery
4 large carrots
1 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch parsley
1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. dry sage leaves
zest and juice of one Meyer lemon or 1/2 a Eureka lemon
Filtered water to cover

Add all to a 7 quart crock pot and set to cook on high for 6 hours. Remove and de-bone and skin the chicken. Set aside the meat and place the skin and bones back in the broth. Set to cook on low for 10 hours or more. Strain and de-fat prior to use. May be frozen or used immediately. Makes 2 quarts.

Prior to starting the final soup, I strain the solids out and let it sit for a while to assist in removing some of the fat. You may wonder why I put the skin back if I intended to remove the fat later. The reason is that the skin has a lot of collagen and is part of what becomes gelatin.

I'm not super vigilant about removing all the fat, just most of it. I use one of these fat separators. I just keep adding broth and pouring the broth off from the bottom. This final pour shows all the fat removed from the whole pot.

I end up with just over 8 cups of broth from my 7 quart crock pot.

Strong Chicken Soup
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion
4 ribs celery
2 large carrots
8 ounces mixed mushrooms
4 cloves garlic
8 cups chicken bone broth
Reserved chicken meat from the bone broth
2 tbsp. gelatin, dissolved in 1 cup cold water
1/4 cup white miso
Salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste

Heat olive oil over a medium flame in a large pot. Chop all the vegetables to about 1/4 inch size and add to the pot. Saute a few minutes and add the broth and chicken. Bring to a brisk simmer. Stir in the miso and taste. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

To add even more nutrition and body to the finished soup, I add 2 tablespoons of good, organic, grass fed gelatin.

This is what it looks like after being dissolved in cold water.

I've also learned a couple of nutrition boosting tips from this article by Dr. Weil. If you set your mushrooms in the sun for 20 minutes or so, they make their own vitamin D and become a far greater source than mushrooms straight from the fridge. Also, if you let chopped garlic sit around for 10 minutes before cooking, the reaction with the air makes a bunch of organo-sulfer compounds, which are real good for your heart. And, it's not mentioned in this article, but miso is full of healthy pro-biotics. That's why you want to add it last. When I add rice, I add it separately, to each serving. That provides for calorie control and nothing gets soggy or gummy. Sometimes, when I want some extra anti-inflammatory power, I add a spoonful of turmeric paste to my serving. Not everyone likes the taste, so I save that one for individual servings. You can learn how to make turmeric paste (and delicious golden milk) right here.

Enjoy your soup and feel better!

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