Broth… the truly magical super food!
As far as I’m concerned broth and stock are the same thing (even though a chef will say a stock is rather more specific in its design). So whenever a recipe calls for stock feel free to reach for your beautiful, wholesome and nutrient dense home-made broth. Once you realise how vitally important your broth is to your families health you will want to always have a new batch brewing.
Beef, chicken and fish stocks are used as a base in traditional foods across nearly all cultures today, as they have been as far back as history has recorded recipes. When properly prepared and used broths are deeply nutritious, containing a broad range of minerals, electrolytes, gelatin, and other nutrients such as glucosamine, chondroitin.
Broth has been traditionally used to prevent and heal infectious disorders such as tummy bugs and cold and flu (chicken broths are particularly well known for this).
Fish broth made with fish heads is particularly high in iodine, a mineral we are commonly deficient in and which deficiency can lead to serious health problems.
Why not get your glucosamine and chondroitin from a beautifully tasty and nutritious broth rather than an expensive and potentially inferior supplement?
Gelatin is highly beneficial to our digestive system and very healing for digestive disorders such as hyperacidity, IBS, Chrohn’s and colitis.
Broth can be made in bulk. It will last in the fridge for up to 1 week but freezes well, without damaging any of it’s nutrients and lasts several months this way. Just be sure to remember to label your broth with the date and type of bones you made it from!
For all bone broths most amazing health benefits, the most amazing thing about broth for me is it’s delicious flavour! Using broths as a base for a meal can turn something quite plain and ordinary into something delicious and deeply satisfying. And there is certainly nothing more satisfying than knowing that with every mouthful, whether it is sipping on a cup full of pure broth or eating cabbage which has been gently brazed in broth (perhaps with a little added crushed garlic and ginger and a splash of apple cider vinegar) your body is being fed so completely well.
As with all food, please use organic where ever possible to reduce the potential toxic burden on your body and to help look after the environment!
CHICKEN BROTH 1 whole free range chook ( or 2 kilo’s chicken bones with plenty of joints like the wings, legs, necks)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (to help leach all the minerals from the bones into the broth)
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, washed and chopped
3 stalks of celery, washed and chopped
A few sprigs of thyme
A small bunch of parsley
1 bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
2 tablespoons of butter
Wash the chicken, place in a stock pot big enough to easily cover the chicken with the water and veges and still have room to spare, or use a slow cooker. Cover with cold water and the vinegar and leave to soak while you prepare the veges.
In a large skillet melt the butter over a medium heat without browning and add the veges. Sauté for 15 -20 minutes, stirring frequently until the veges are softened and beginning to caramelize. Add the veges (along with the peppercorns and herbs) to the chicken and bring the pot to a gentle simmer. It is very important that this should be a gentle roll rather than a vigorous boil as if it is too hot many of the vital nutrients will be damaged/destroyed. Skim off any scum that floats to the top as necessary. After 1 hour I like to get a couple of forks and remove the breast meat, and maybe the thigh meat and create a nice meal with this, or cool and use in a salad. This poached meat is beautifully flavoursome. Continue to cook the broth for 6-12 hours (and up to 24 hours, although I find this length of time unnecessary). Cool, strain and the broth is ready to consume, add to a dish or store.
Meryn Wakelin is a Naturopath, Medical Herbalist, Nutrition Consultant (and passionate cook of all good food) with clinics in Pukekohe and Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand.