Recipe: A Good Soup Stock
A good stock includes four main ingredients: meaty bones, apple cider vinegar, water and time. These ingredients, before vegetables and herbs, will make a very tasty soup base all on its own. Adding a few vegetables and herbs like parsley, celery leaf and lovage will improve the flavour and add even more nutrients.
Making broths is an excellent way to let nothing go to waste. Vegetable peelings, vegetable water (water from cooking vegetables in) and leftover meaty bones can be saved and reused, and the result is very nourishing for our bodies. Sally Fallon has an informative section on the health benefits of bone broths in her book, 'Nourishing Traditions'. Here is an excerpt:
"Properly prepared, meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of the bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate. Acidic wine or vinegar added during cooking helps to draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, into the broth."1
The gelatin in stocks is extremely important for anyone suffering with digestive disorders. It not only facilitates nutrient assimilation in those having trouble digesting food, it acts as a "protein sparer, allowing the body to more fully utilize the complete proteins that are taken in."2 For anyone trying to minimize their animal protein consumption, bone broths are really great. Now that the weather has turned cold, soup made with homemade stock is usually on the daily menu.
My stock is never quite the same because I believe in using whatever happens to be on hand, and that will vary depending on the time of year or what's in the fridge at any given moment. However, in an ideal world, the following ingredients make it into our stock pot whenever we're making broth.
A Good Stock (makes a big potful)
8 cups cold water, or saved vegetable water
2 Tblsp apple cider vinegar
2 ham hocks, beef bones or chicken back, neck and feet
1-2 carrots, roughly chopped
3-4 parsnips ends (the parts too skinny to use)
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
A handful of parsley (fresh or dried)
A handful of celery leaf (fresh or dried)
A pinch of lovage (fresh or dried)
Starting early in the morning, on a day you plan to be around, place all ingredients in a stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer - all day. The longer the better. Strain the broth once the broth is cool enough to handle. Store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days or freeze until needed.
Shanon Hilton is a mother, wife, aspiring farmer, and passionate food advocate. She writes about her thoughts on food, farming and health at www.foodfarmhealth.ca.
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