Friday, November 9, 2012

Creamed Orange Veggie Soup made with Homemade Chicken Stock!

     We have been incorporating more REAL food into our diet this past year, and we are healthier and thinner because of it! If you would like to learn more about real food, I suggest getting the cookbook Nourishing Traditions, it is more than just a cookbook, it has loads of information on nutrition. One of the most informative chapters of the book is the one on bone broths. Broth is a wonderfully healing food, good for aiding in the absorption of minerals and protein, as well as helping to heal your insides and protect against bad "bugs" and colds. Its also a thrifty food, as its made for virtually free, since its made with things usually thrown out, so its a win win!
     To make my bone broth I save the all the bones and carcasses from when I roast chicken and chicken pieces and freeze them. When I am ready to make the stock I toss them in my crock pot and cover with lots of water. If I can find them, I add chicken feet. Now, I know, chicken feet are not something a squeamish cook can handle easily, but I promise you, they make an ordinary stock extraordinary! They boost the gelatin content too, and gelatin, my friends, is why broth is so good for you! If you like, you can add an onion, a couple carrots, a bay leaf or two, some celery leaves and a few peppercorns, these add more flavor to the broth and bring it up to the same level as soup, but they aren't necessary, as plain broth is still very good and great for using in recipes for soups, stews and gravy! I never add salt to my stock, I salt it as I make the recipe, that way I don't need to worry about the evaporation creating an over salted end product.
     So, once everything is in the crock pot, turn it on high until it comes to a simmer then switch to low and cook at least 12 hours, I let mine go for 24, to leach every last drop of goodness from the bones! When done, turn off and let cool a little, then strain through a cloth.

     After you have strained it, you should have a nice rich broth, if its not clear like store bought, don't worry, I find that the flavor of an opaque broth is much deeper and richer!

I usually get almost a gallon of stock from one chicken carcass and a pound or so of the feet. If you don't want to use the feet, save your bones and use two carcasses instead. Oh, and I have one of the big crock pots, I think its an 8 to 10 quart one, so I can make a good sized batch at one time! If yours is smaller, no problem, just use one carcass and your broth will be more concentrated, you can use it as is, or add water to it. Broth is not a fussy food, so try not and over think it!
     I try and make a batch every week or two, and use it up by making soups, stews, gravy, and chili. I seriously believe in the power of good homemade stock to boost the immune system, as we are rarely sick! I invented a new soup the other night, and it came out SO good I just had to share it with you!
      I took a buttercup squash, two large carrots, a sweet potato (not shown) and two cloves of garlic and tossed them in a large soup pot.

     I then added enough stock to cover them and then a little extra. I simmered until the veg were all super soft, then let cool a bit. Since I don't have an immersion blender I put the whole lot through my beloved ninja blender, and ended up with a rich, smooth, creamy soup. I put it back in the pot, and seasoned with sea salt, turmeric (a VERY potent healing spice, google it and find out it's numerous benefits, and anti-cancer properties!) cumin (another healing spice) and curry powder to taste. In the end, the results were bloomin' fantastic!

The husband agreed! Upon tasting, he told me I had better write this invention down!
     This batch made about 10 mug sized servings, perfect combined with some hearty sandwiches! (we shared the sandwiches, I didn't eat them ALL by myself!) I stuck half the batch in the freezer, ready to reheat for an easy weeknight dinner. Very good, and VERY good for you, you can't ask for more than that! Enjoy:)

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