There’s nothing like a wonderful soup or stew during the cold winter month’s to help warm your belly and pick up your spirit. I absolutely love making homemade broths as a base for my soups and stews. Grandma was right on the money when she recommended chicken soup for, “what ever ail’s ya”. Hearty and healthy, broth’s are a powerhouse of nutrition and a wonderful way to build up your immune system. What better way to get your vitamins and minerals than to enjoy a rich and delicious soup.
When I make homemade broth for my family I feel like I’m making them “a pot full of love”, because I know that I am nourishing them from the inside out. I like to start my broth off with the finest quality ingredients I can find. If I am not growing it at home I like to buy local organic produce. I also like to add loads of nourishing herbs and mushrooms to enhance the nutrient value and to help give the immune system a boost.
I start my broth off with organic grass fed/free range beef or chicken bones. The bones are full of lots of nutrients that are extracted while cooking. Traditionally, all parts of an animal were used in one way or another. Unfortunately, these days we disgard the bones and miscellaneous parts of the animal and miss out on all the wonderful goodness that these, “not so choice” parts have to offer. Today I am using beef neck bones that I was fortunate enough to be given by some friends.
Along with the bones I add loads of fresh vegetables such as carrots, celery, garlic, onions, shitake mushrooms, etc. I also add medicinal plants such as Astragalus root, Burdock root and/or Dandelion root. Really, you could classify everything that goes into this broth as being medicinal. Even the common kitchen herbs that go into this broth (parsley, basil, black pepper and thyme) contain loads of vitamins and minerals and a host of various constituents which give them medicinal benefits as well. I also like to add some blackstrap mollasses because it is so rich and nutrient dense and vinegar to help draw out additional minerals from the bones. I’m not real big on measuring things out, but I will share with you an approximation of the recipe as I make it….
2 – 3 pds of Beef Bones
1 gallon of water (or enough to completely cover bones)
1- 2 hands full of diced carrots
2 large onions (quartered)
6-8 stalks of celery (roughly chopped)
5-6 clove of garlic
6-8 shitake mushrooms
3 tbsp dried thyme, parsley, basil (or 5-6 tbsp fresh chopped) (actually whatever herbs strike your fancy)
10-15 slices of astragalus root
2 tbsp of Blackstrap Molasses
2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
The Kitchen Sink (just kidding)
Place everything in a large pot and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for approximately 1 hour. Allow the broth to cool and pour into freezer safe containers for later use. You can also fill up ice trays, freeze them, and then pop the cubes out as you need them. You can also just strain it and use it right away. Be as creative as you want and have fun with making up your own recipe. You can add any combination of herbs which suit your fancy or add sea vegetables in lieu of salt which add additional nutrients. This broth can be made with either beef, chicken, fish or wild game bones.
Here is just an idea of the health benefits and vitamin content of this broth:
Water = A natural expectorant and helps to keep the body hydrated.
Beef Bones = easily absorbed minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals.
Carrots = High in antioxidants and the richest vegetable source of the vitamin A carotenes. May help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer and also promote good vision, especially night vision.
Celery = Excellent source of vitamins K and C and a very good source of potasium, folate, manganese, and vitamin B6.
Parsley = Excellent source of Vitamins A, C, and K, and high in antioxidants.
Thyme = Excellent source of Vitamin K, Iron and Manganese and a very good source of calcium. Various medicinal properties to include its use as an antiseptic, antispasmodic and expectorant to help clear congestion.
Shitake Mushrooms = Helps to strengthen the Immune System, may help to prevent cancer, high in antioxidants, a very good source of iron and a good source of vitamin C.
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous) = Long history of use in Chinese medicine as an immune stimulant, aid to digestion and benefits to the respiratory system.
So the next time your thinking about ways to help keep your family healthy think about making them soup. Just the aroma coming from the pot is one way of telling them you love them and you care about their health.
Thought I would conclude by adding in a little joke:
“A Jewish woman had two chickens. One got sick, so the woman made chicken soup out of the other one to help the sick one get well”.
– Henny Youngman