Broth, Soup and Stew
There is no 'right' way to make soup - all you need is heat, water and creativity. Trust yourself and the experience.
Cook the meat for soup and stew
Start with meat on the bone
Whole chicken, turkey carcass, beef on the bone, lamb leg, fish with head and bones or pork on the bone.
Fill the pot with meat on the bone.
Fill the pot with water.
Add an acid to change the pH of the water so the minerals are released.
A couple glugs of apple cider vinegar. About 1/4 cup for a gallon of water.
Add 3 bay leaves and a teaspoon of peppercorns.
You can add any of the spices and vegetables for bone broth at this stage, but I often wait because the pot is too full!
Simmer the meat, bones and goodies.
Simmer until the meat easily falls off the bone. A few minutes for fish, 1 hour for poultry, 2 hours for beef, lamb or pork.
Lift the meat and bones out to a strainer and cool.
Pick the meat off the bones and store it refrigerated.
To make the stock
Return the bones to the water and add any other bones you may have laying around.
When I have leftover bones, I throw them in the freezer to wait for this point. A cooked chicken from the market is an easy meal on a busy weeknight, then throw the bones into the freezer to make stock later.
Add vegetables for additional flavor and nutrition - almost anything, but no cruciferous vegetables.
Carrot, celery and onion are traditional. Save celery ends in the freezer for this occasion.
Any potato or sweet potato, especially the skins, beets and beet skins, green beans, etc.
Don't use broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, kale or brussel sprouts. They make the stock bitter.
Add spices for additional flavor and nutrition. Again, there are no rules - add your favorite spices and herbs.
2-4 bay leaves. If you live in the Mendocino area - the tree on the corner of Ukiah and Evergreen street across from Cafe Beaujolais is a Laurel Bay for culinary use.
1 teaspoon peppercorns.
Sprigs of fresh herbs - Rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram. If you don't have your own herb garden, there is probably a rosemary bush in your area where you can simply cut off a piece.
Fresh turmeric and ginger if it's available.
Immune boosting herbs like Shiitake mushrooms available fresh or dried - use 1-3 in the stock.
Astragalus is an immune herb that is like a bark. Add 4 sticks astragalus during flu season.
A handful of mineral rich seaweed.
Simmer for a long time on low.
Fish for 2 hours, chicken for 6 or more hours and beef and lamb bones for 6-12 hours. The longer it cooks the more nutrient dense the broth will be.
At some point all the vegetables and herbs will get a grey, dead look to them. This means you've exhausted all the nutrients and those nutrients are all in the broth for you to enjoy.
The truth is, I rarely get to this point. I just cook it for as long as I can then proceed to making stew or storing the broth for later use. It's still healthy and tasty.
Remove, cool and store.
Remove the broth from the heat and allow it to cool for a half hour before straining to avoid burns.
Strain the broth into a large bowl and discard the bones, veggies and herbs.
The broth has a layer of fat that floats to the top and has to be removed.
#1 - if you have time to leave the broth overnight - simply refrigerate and the fat will form a solid mass on top that can be easily lifted off after it cools.
#2 - use a fat separator which is a special vessel that allows you to pour the broth out the bottom while keeping the fat float on top.
#3 - when you need to make that stew or soup right now, but don't have a fat separator. The fat will float to the top and put it into a tall narrow vessel like a mason jar and spoon the fat off the top.
Overnight the stock should turn into a thick gelatin, rich with gut healing nutrients. If it doesn't gel, that's ok it's still healthy, just not as rich.
Why didn't it gel?
If there's not enough bones ratio to water there won't be enough natural gelatin to gel. Chicken and fish bones release gelatin easier than beef bones.
If the beef bones weren't cooked long enough they won't gel either.
If it gets too hot - by using a pressure cooker the gelatins can be denatured and the broth won't gel.
Soup or stew
Saute 2 onions in half a cup of broth until they begin to turn brown and caramelize.
Add 3 stalks celery and 2 carrots, chopped and saute for another 15 minutes.
Add the meat and the stock back into the pot.
Add a starch - potato, sweet potato, more carrots, beets or rice.
Add more vegetables - anything goes, at this point broccoli and the other cruciferous vegetables are good.
Add an acid - another dash of apple cider vinegar, a squeeze of lemon or a can of tomato sauce to bring out the flavors.
Is it soup or is it stew? That simply depends on the quantity of meat, starch and veggies to broth. You get to choose.
Enjoy! For added flavor and healthy bacteria add a dollop of homemade sauerkraut to the top.
What is it good for
The broth is high in glutamine which helps to heal the gut lining so it helps with leaky gut and irritable bowel issues. The broth is also highly nutritious and easy to absorb. When your stomach hurts then it's hard to get vitamins out of a healthy salad. The stomach just isn't strong enough to break down healthy fibrous foods. The nutrients in broth are really easy for the gut to absorb without causing any pain, so some people can actually get more nutrients from a cup of pure liquid broth than from a salad. Healing this leaky gut is primary to any autoimmune disease whether it's hashimoto's thyroiditis or fibromyalgia.
The meat is very strengthening. Most of my personal plans start with increasing meat foods. When people are weak and depleted from struggling with a digestive or autoimmune problem then adding more protein helps them feel stable and strong again. My first goal is to get you feeling better, then you will have the strength to heal the gut and eat your vegetables. In the beginning stages of a program your soup may be high in broth and meat. Particularly people dealing with depression, increasing broth and meat will give them the raw material to make more neurotransmitters for brain and mood.
The starch for you may be potato, sweet potato, carrots, winter squash, beets or rice. This is very condition specific. The average healthy person would enjoy potatoes. For diabetes, I would recommend sweet potatoes. For indigestion and bloating I would recommend carrots and winter squash. If you need more bulk and energy in the soup, we may add in some jasmine white rice. I know, "brown rice has more vitamins". It's not the amount of vitamins in the food, but the amount a person can extract from the food. Brown rice fibers are hard on a fragile gut and jasmine white rice is very gentle. Beets are particularly helpful for liver and stomach support.
The vegetables in the beginning of most digestive healing programs have to be limited. Those fibers are just too harsh, but if the same vegetables are cooked for hours in water then you can drink the nutrients in a broth without the harsh fibers. As digestion improves, the ability to digest vegetables will improve. As you begin to heal and feel strong, the soup will transition to more vegetables which can help to heal detox mechanisms. Toxins are often an initial trigger for autoimmune disease such as fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. Vegetables are important to help remove toxins from the body and alleviate the pain of autoimmune disorders.