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Homemade Chicken Stock aka Penicillin Soup!
This liquid gold has been hailed as one of the healthiest superfoods, helping many with ailments from bad digestion to flu symptoms. For this reason, chicken soup is often called “Penicillin soup” due to chicken also containing an amino acid called cysteine which thins any excess mucus in the lungs and helps in the healing process of many illnesses.
Homemade chicken stock served as a broth or soup is a natural remedy for many illnesses and adds a nutritional and flavour boost to many dishes. A healthy gut recipe, this chicken stock takes 24 hours to come to perfection to add to soups, stews, risotto, sauces, etc. Best of all, make a huge batch and freeze in smaller portions for future cooking.
The Medicine Behind Bone Broths
Slow-cooking chicken bones or carcasses with a bit of acid like apple cider or white vinegar for a long period is key to releasing the minerals into the stock along with a host of protein-building amino acids, primarily glutamine. The longer the stock is cooked, the more nutrients are extracted from the bones.
Glutamine is imperative for gut health due to the cells lining the gut wall which turn over quickly.
The cells that line the gut wall turn over quickly and for them to remain healthy and active, they need glutamine as their fuel. As these cells turnover, they repair and restore any damaged intestinal villi. Villi is like the seaweed of the sea floor in our digestive system, filtering and assisting food to be digested efficiently. When these are damaged, a condition known as “leaky gut syndrome” is suffered by the individual leading to malabsorption of nutrients. This deficiency can lead to all sorts of diseases, notably celiac disease.
Should I use stock cubes?
Most store-bought stock cubes contain wheat flour, but food manufacturers are starting to take notice of gluten-free options and are adding friendly flours like cornflour or potato flour to their cubes. Just double-check the packaging before adding it to your shopping basket.
Read my blog on Why Stock Making is a Must in a domestic kitchen, especially for gluten-free diets. This blog will give you detailed information about all the advantages of making homemade stock, including chicken stock.
If you haven’t got much room in your freezer for containers of liquid stock, then try making a concentrated reduction into stock cubes. Boil down the strained stock to a thick gel, taking care not to let it stick to the bottom and pour them into ice-cube containers to solidify. These can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks or in the freezer for at least 6 months.
Homemade Chicken Stock
- 1 whole, raw chicken, with giblets & liver (if included)
- 1 onion, cut in half
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 leek, remove end and wash well, roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 celery sticks & leaves, roughly chopped
- ½ bunch fresh parsley leaves and stems
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 10 black peppercorns
- salt, to taste (only add at the end of cooking)
Slow Cooking the Chicken Stock
- Stuff the whole chicken’s cavity with some of the vegetables, herbs and onions.
- Fill the deep stockpot, a crockpot or an Instant Pot two thirds full with room temperature tap water and add the chicken.
- Bring the water up to a slow boil for 30 minutes, removing the scum and dirt that floats to the surface. If your chicken is organic, there will be less scum to remove.
- Lower the temperature to a low simmer. Add the vegetables, herbs, peppercorns and vinegar. Cover the pot.
- After 4 hours, remove the chicken, and transfer to a colander with a bowl underneath to catch any liquid.
- Allow to cool slightly and remove all the white and dark meat, including the skin from the whole chicken. Discard the skin and transfer all the chicken meat to a container to use in salads, sandwich fillings, pasta dishes, pie fillings or whatever dish calls for cooked chicken meat.
- Return all the bones and cartilages to the stock.
- Cover the pot and simmer for another 12 to 20 hours. The stock will take on a rich, brown colour. The longer you cook the stock, the darker and richer it will appear. You may need to top it up with some more water to keep it from reducing too much.
- When you are satisfied with the colour and flavour (add salt only now!), remove the bones and vegetables, and allow to cool before straining the soup through a fine-mesh sieve into a large container. Remove any fat that rises to the top.
- Once it has cooled down completely, cover and chill until needed.
- After a few hours, a layer of fat should settle on the surface of the soup. This will be easy to remove when the stock is cold. Remove it with a spoon and discard.
- Return to several portion size containers to either chill or freeze.
- Keeps for one week chilled
- Suitable to freeze for 6 months