June 2, 2009

Easy Chicken Broth and Chicken Soup

Now that you know how to Roast a Chicken, making broth couldn't be simpler. You will need a large soup pot or medium sized crock pot. I prefer the crock put because I put the ingredients in after dinner, turn it on, and when I wake up the broth is done.

Chicken Broth

1. Cut the remaining chicken off the carcass and store in frig.
2. Place the chicken carcass, drippings, leftover bones and any leftover vegetables in the crock pot or soup pot.
3. Fill with filtered water until the water just covers, or almost covers, the top of the chicken. Add 1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar which will break down the bonds in the bones releasing minerals into the broth.
4. You may add fresh onion, celery, parsley and carrots as desired. This will add additional nutrition and flavor to the broth.
5. Turn crock pot on high until boiling, skim any scum that accumulates on the top, then turn to low overnight. In soup pot: bring to boil then simmer for at least three hours.
6. Remove bones and strain vegetables. You may use the broth as is or refrigerate and skim off the fat that congeals on top. The broth may be kept in the refrigerator and stays viable for up to two weeks, or freeze for months. I prefer to store my broth in glass containers. Leave room at the top for expansion in the freezer.

Chicken Soup

The preparation for this meal is minimal when you have broth and leftover chicken.

1. Simmer broth in soup pot
2. Add desired chopped vegetables such as carrots, onion, broccoli and kale. Cover and cook until al dente.
3. Season with sea salt and pepper, lemon and other desired herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano, cilantro, basil, etc)
4. Add pre-cooked brown rice or potatoes as desired. These can also be cooked right in the broth but rice will absorb much of the broth and potatoes will make the broth starchy. I prefer to cook them separately and add them at the end.

That's it! Enjoy!

Roasted Chicken Recipes

One of the most delightful and satisfying meals is roasted chicken. It's hard to get it wrong, the most important detail is the cooking time, which is 20 minutes/pound. If you don’t under or over cook the chicken you can’t go wrong. Find a whole, organic chicken. It will often contain a bag of giblets in the cavity so be sure to remove that before cooking. There are MANY ways to roast a chicken. Here are my two favorites:

Option #1 – Roasted Whole Chicken with Vegetables

1. Place the whole chicken breast-side-up in a generous sized roasting pan (at least 9x11)
2. Rub or drizzle a bit of butter or olive oil on the chicken
3. Chop 2 or 3 potatoes, 2 onions and lots of baby carrots or 4 chopped carrots and assemble around the chicken in the roasting pan (broccoli is also good, as is celery and any of your other favorite vegetables)
4. Sprinkle with Trader Joe’s Poultry Seasoning and salt and pepper and place in the oven at 350 F, 20 minutes per pound (a 5 lb chicken will be 100 minutes, a 3 lb chicken will be 60 min, etc.)
5. Every now and then place a wooden spoon into the cavity, tip the chicken so the juices run out into the pan, then baste the chicken (a spoon works fine) and stir the vegetables.
6. Chicken will be done right when the timer goes off! Check for doneness by cutting into the breast and looking for red juices, or tip chicken as in step #5 and notice if the juices are red or clear. When they are clear the chicken is done.

Option #2 – Roasted Whole Chicken with Lemon

1. Place the whole chicken breast-side-up in a generous-sized roasting pan
2. Rub or drizzle a bit of butter or olive oil on the chicken
3. Quarter 3 or 4 lemons and place inside the cavity
4. Sprinkle with Trader Joe’s Poultry Seasoning and salt and pepper and place in the oven at 350 F, 20 minutes per pound. (A 5 lb chicken will be 100 minutes, a 3 lb chicken will be 60 min, etc.) Occasionally will take longer when the cavity is filled so check for doneness by tipping as described above in #6.

Gravy Option: Pour some drippings into a saucepan or frying pan. Add a little boiling water to thin consistency. Simmer over low/medium heat stirring constantly adding cornstarch 1 Tbsp at a time to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with brown rice and a crunchy salad and enjoy!

Roasting a Chicken and Brothmaking 101

In my posting The Goods on Fat I wrote about the importance of including healthy fats in a well-balanced diet. One of the first nutritional suggestions I make to all my patients is to roast a chicken once a week. A roasted chicken is soul food – it is ridiculously simple to prepare yet yields a succulent main dish that is full of protein, minerals and healthy fat that is so exceedingly satisfying that you feel you’re getting away with something.

After the roasted chicken is consumed I make broth. My parents who tend toward the sarcastic used to joke about “consecrated chicken soup.” In my childhood naivete I didn’t understand why that was so funny, but later as I learned about the truly nutritive and healing qualities of chicken broth, and became aware of how it has been revered over time as a cure-all in cultures all over the world, the joke made sense. The old wives’ tales made claims of healing the sick and aiding digestion. Modern science confirms that chicken broth high in minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, does serve as an excellent mineral source and electrolyte replacer, and it contains enzymes that contribute to the immune process and aid digestion. Chicken broth also contains gelatin which is healing to the digestive tract as it aids in digestion and ultimately decreases inflammation.

A roasted chicken is an incredibly economical meal choice as you get at least two meals out of the chicken. Please see my very simplified versions of how to roast a chicken and make chicken broth.

And yes, you are getting away with something – an epicurian pleasure without guilt. Now how often does that happen? Enjoy.