Why is chicken soup superior to all the things we have, even more relaxing than 'Tylenol'? It is because chicken soup has a natural ingredient which feeds, repairs and calms the mucous lining in the beginning or ending of the nervous system. It is easily pulled away from the intestine through too many laxatives, too many food additives....and parasites. Chicken soup...heals the nerves, improves digestion, reduces allergies, relaxes and gives strength.
Hanna Kroeger, Ageless Remedies from Mother's Kitchen
If you don't know, that natural ingredient that she mentions above is gelatin-rich meat stock...and in this case, chicken stock.
Since it is close to stewing hen time, I thought it would be a good time to post a recipe for chicken stock. Chicken stock can be used for more than making chicken soup, of course, and by doing so, we can get more of this gelatin-rich broth into our system to bring about healing and health. Use it in places that call for water, like stir fying & making rice.
Making stock isn't hard (the stove does most of the work), it just takes a little bit of time....but it's time well spent!
The best (easiest) way to make stock is to make a big batch and then freeze it into freezer bags in the size amounts that you use most. If you have a really big stock pot, you can double this recipe.
Farm-raised, pastured/free ranged chickens give the best results. Many battery-raised chickens will not produce stock that gels.
6 lbs chicken scraps *
4 qts. water
3-4 carrots, peeled & coarsely chopped
1 med onion, coarsely chopped
2 leeks, including green part, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, with leaves, coarsely chopped **
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs parsley
2 Tbs. salt
3/4 cup dry white wine (or 1/4 cup vinegar) ***
Place chicken into a stockpot and add water. Bring to boil, removing scum that rises to the top. After scumming subsides, put the rest of the ingredients into the pot and bring everything back up to a boil.
Reduce heat to simmer and cook covered for 4-24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be.
Remove from heat and cool some.
Remove the chicken pieces and big chunks of veggies from the stock with a slotted spoon.
Strain stock through several layers of wet cheesecloth over a strainer.
Reserve chicken meat for soup or other uses. Discard everything else but the liquid.
The test to whether your stock contains good amounts of gelatin is done by chilling the broth. It should thicken, and thicken to the point of jelling completely like a bowl of jello, when refrigerated.
The whitish stuff on the top is the fat, scrap it off and discard.
Scoop out the amounts needed and put into a covered container or freezer bag.
Use immediately, refrigerate (for up to several days) or freeze.
* Chicken scraps can be bones, necks, backs and other scraps (chicken feet are loaded with gelatin so don't be afraid to use them!). If using whole chicken, cut it up into pieces.
** Using the center of your celery bunch works well as that is where the leaves and the 'not as pretty' stalks are. If a bunch of celery is going bad before you can use it all up, put it into the freezer and when you make stock, pull it out and use that.
*** Don't be tempted to leave out the wine/vinegar thinking it is not important; you need this acid to pull out the minerals from the bones.