Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Basics : Chicken Stock, Paleo Chicken Noodle Soup and Vegetable Soups

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Chicken stock (or bone broth) is one of those things you will find yourself using all the time, and lucky for you it is very simple to make. You can make it in a large pot or in a slow cooker - your choice.

Health Benefits of Stock
  • Chicken stock provides plentiful and easily absorbed minerals which is especially important today when our soils are so depleted.
  • The bones supply glucosamine and chondroitin, both which help with joint health and can be especially helpful for arthritis.
  • The natural gelatine that forms is terrific for the skin and muscles.
  • Many people worry about food combining, but if you eat chicken stock with your meal this won't be necessary.  The gelatine is a colloidal substance which means it attracts digestive juices.
  • The large amount of amino acid glycine assists with detoxification in the liver.  Since we are constantly surrounded with toxins, this is very important today.
Soup is considered comfort food for very good reason. Sometimes the only thing that will hit the spot is a bowl of something warm and soothing. With chicken stock in your freezer you can whip up some soup in a couple of minutes just by using what you have in your vegetable drawer, and have the added satisfaction of knowing you've eaten something very good for you. 

And of course when you're feeling under the weather and want to pamper yourself, lots of us just want chicken noodle soup, and the good news is you can have it if you follow the recipe below.

Quick and Easy Chicken Stock

Ingredients :

- 1 bag of chicken scraps
- bones,skin, leftover meat etc. Alternatively you could use two chicken breasts on the bone with skin and then keep the meat for lunches.
- 1 bag of stock vegetables
- carrot, onion and celery left-overs. If you don't have this add 2 whole carrots, 1 onion and 2 stalks of celery, leaves and all. Don't bother peeling.
- salt and pepper and a bay leaf if you have one

Directions :

- Put everything in a large pot, cover with water until everything is submerged.
- If cooking on the stove, bring to a boil, lower to the lowest temperature you have, then simmer covered for at least an hour.
- If using the crockpot put on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 to 10

Once the stock is finished remove the bones and vegetables by pouring it all through a large sieve into another pan or bowl (Image from blog.delementals.com). Preferably do this in the sink, and if you use a soup ladle it will take a bit of time but make less mess.

If you are making a really large amount of stock, you could also use a colander, but be prepared for your stock to have some little bits still in it.

At this stage some people recommend boiling until the stock has reduced by half.  If you have room in your freezer for the amount you made, I think you might as well skip this step. Chances are whatever you use it in will need extra liquid anyway, so why spend time evaporating it?

When it comes to freezing your stock, here are 2 great ways recommended by thekitchn.com :

You can freeze in individual one cup containers, first placing a ziploc bag inside.  That way once frozen you just remove the bag and you have anice container shaped bag to freeze and can use your container for something else.

For me the most convenient way to freeze stock is in an ice cube tray. Fill, freeze until firm, then remove and store in a freezer bag. When you need stock just remove however many cubes you need and add to whatever you're cooking. They will thaw a lot quicker this way as well.

If you're stock doesn't gel, here is an article that can help.

f you have a large family, much as making stock in a slow cooker is easy, it won't be the solution for you because it won't give you the amount you need.  You will need to invest in a good stock pot.  Since stock is something that you will use on a constant basis once you start cooking Paleo, it will certainly pay for itself over time.  Here are a few to consider.

This 8 quart stock pot, though one of the cheapest, has had a lot of good ratings.

The 12 quart one by the same company has very good ratings as well. 

To check out more pots just click on one of the above links.

Basic Vegetable Soup 

No recipe needed here. Just take out however many stock cubes you need, add whatever vegetable you have (chopped) and some salt and pepper and maybe a bit of chopped parsley or some other herbs to taste, cook until the vegetables are tender, and you're done.

If you want cream soup, blend in a blender, then reheat. This alone will make your soup creamy, but you can also add cream or sour cream to finish for more creaminess.

If desired, top with chopped herbs, grated cheese, or crumbled bacon.

The variations are endless. Just some examples : mushroom soup, tomato vegetable soup, and cream of broccoli soup
Paleo Chicken Noodle Soup

The secret is using egg crepes for the noodles.

Ingredients :

- chicken stock
- some shredded chicken
- a bit of cooked carrot and onion
- egg crepe noodles (see recipe following)


- Heat the stock, chicken and vegetables for 15 minutes at least to allow the flavours to meld.
- Cut noodles from the crepes, spread on a plate, then reheat in the microwave for one minute.  Add a few noodles to each plate before ladling in the soup.
- Alternatively you can heat in the soup for a few minutes until warm. But make sure you don't overcook these.  You don't want them to get tough.

Egg Crepe Noodles


- 2 eggs
- water or cream
- 1 or 2 tablespoons of coconut flour (optional)
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)
- salt and pepper
- butter

 Directions :

 - Beat the eggs, add the coconut flour and parsley if using, and enough water or cream to make a very runny batter.
 - Melt some butter in a frying pan on medium heat. Pour in a little of the batter into the middle of the pan and swish the pan around, covering as much of the bottom as possible. Once the batter stops moving, replace on the heat.
 - Cook until the edges start looking a little brown. Flip and cook the other side for a minute then remove to a plate. Don't overcook.
- Once you've cooked all your crepes, roll them up and slice into noodles.

These crepes can be frozen flat in a freezer bag as shown here by dealstomeals.blogspot.com.  Just put a sheet of wax paper between each crepe before freezing, then you can just remove however many you need.

And yes, you can make them just using eggs and nothing else, which is the way Suzanne Somers introduced them years ago in her cookbooks.  However I think adding a bit of parsley makes them that much tastier for soup, and coconut flour - if you happen to have some - will make your noodles just a tad more substantial.

I fully endorse Mark Sisson's habit of having a big salad for lunch. It's a great way to get lots of nutrients with very little trouble. But unfortunately a lot of us do not live in a warm climate, and when the snow is deep outside and the cold wind is blowing, a cold salad looks ... well cold. Heating a bowl of soup to go with it definitely takes the chill off and still allows us to eat healthy.

And having some frozen crepes and a bag full of stock cubes in the freezer is the best way to be prepared for when that winter flu bug hits.

image from health.com

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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  1. I would say that the bay leaves should not be optional, unless one really hates bay. They make the difference between salty and umami.

  2. I found the coconut flour crepe to be a bit too sweet for a chicken noodle soup. It was however delicious for some fruit and coconut milk whipped cream!

  3. cant wait to try egg noodles! i wonder if you could use these with stirfries in place of rice or noodles? yum

  4. If you don't use flour of any kind isn't it really just scrambled eggs?

    1. Believe it or not it does work, even without flour. It still makes a crepe - just a much lighter tasting one - and some people actually prefer it. Suzanne Somers made these popular years ago and they make very good light noodles. Try them yourself and see what you think. You might find you're pleasantly surprised.


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