(This is a recipe for anyone who does not yet have Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. Really, what are you waiting for?)
I have a few foundations of a "Living Kitchen" and this has to be one of them! Once you taste this stock, "anything else would be uncivilized"! Not only is this stock more nutritious (high in minerals that are easy to assimilate, and gelatin galore), but it is also a great way to use up the what you would normally throw away!
I start with a whole chicken (or you could use split breasts, any chicken with the bone still attached). I usually bake it in the crock pot stuffed with onions, garlic, carrots, celery, anything I have around. I put some oil on it (usually coconut, again because it is what I have and it is an oil that can cook at high temperatures. Olive oil turns into a toxic fat when heated too high... but that is another topic). And then season it, again with whatever I have around.
I like to add a little extra water while it is cooking, and then when it is done, I take the meat off and put it back into the broth to get really juicy before serving it... oh, so good!
But back to the stock!
After I take all the edible meat off, I put all the bones, skin, whatever is left over back into the pot. Now I add in my secret ingredient: the freezer bag goodies. Nothing goes to waste around here, so some of the scraps that I would usually give to the chickens, I put into the freezer bag. Things like, broccoli that is about to go bad before it makes it to another salad, or the stem of broccoli if I get it by the bunch, the ends of the onion or garlic, the ends of carrots, celery, potatoes, the middle part of the head of cabbage... you get the point, any vegetable that technically would be edible but usually wouldn't be eaten. Every time I have any of these things, even a few pieces, they go into the bag. Over a week or so between when I make the next chicken, it accumulates to a nice size bag of chicken stock goodies! I still usually add about another head of garlic, just to make sure enough garlic makes it in.
Next, I add a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and let is sit for an hour or so. This draws out minerals, particularly calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
Then add cold water until it covers everything in the pot. Make sure it is cold, as the water warms, all the fibers open slowly, releasing their juices and making it taste so wonderful!
I usually start my stock at night after dinner and after the initial boil, I let it simmer all night long. The next day, 10 minutes or so before it is done, I try add in a little parsley for added mineral ions.
Once it cools, I strain it all and put it in bags to freeze. Any time I can, I use my stock. I uses it to boil rice, beans, potatoes, and pasta, and, of course, it is soup starter. Not only is it way less expensive, tastes infinitely better, but I know how nutritious it is. Here are some things Sally Fallon says about the nutrition value of homemade stock:
"It is called Jewish penicillin, a valued remedy for the flu."
"Gelatin [which is what stock is full of, especially if you can bear to throw in the feet! A well made stock, when cooled, will have the texture of Jell-O] acts first and foremost as an aid to digestion and has been used successfully in the treatment of many intestinal disorders, including hyperactivity, colitis, and Crohn's disease."
"Stock also has the unusual property of having hydrophilic colloids...which attract digestive juices to rapid and effective digestion. Most cooked foods have hydrophobic colloids, making them harder to digest."
I am not trying to reinvent the wheel here, so if you would like more information on the nutritive value of homemade stock without buying the book, read this.
And then get out your stock pot!