chicken-stock_cooking-in-pot

Everyone loves 2 for 1 sales, that is, if you like the product being featured. Most of the time this is not the case for me. Usually at my grocery store, two for one deals are on pre-packaged foods that we choose not to eat. Some people may believe that this makes me mental but I chose to see myself as a concerned consumer.

I have been thinking a lot lately about food, the food industry, consumerism and, well being a concerned consumer. I have been reading Stuffed Nation by Hank Cardello over the past week and there is a lot of food for thought regarding being a concerned consumer in that book. Some of his points I agree with, some I don’t necessarily, however, I will be discussing this in more detail next week, when we announce the Foodie Blogroll giveaways for September, as his book is one of them! This will give us all a change to weigh in with our thoughts about food policy.

But back to my 2 for 1. As I have mentioned before,  I am really in love with the book Nourishing Traditions and I have been trying some recipes from the cookbook portion of the book. I love that the book focuses on traditional foods and traditional food preparation. So many of the recipes seem like things I already enjoy making, but the preparation is a bit different, and it is the preparation that makes the difference for my belly and the bellies of others.

Bone broths are a very old idea, but also an idea that has kind of fallen out of common practice for the most part. If a recipe we are using calls for stock of any kind, we are more likely to go and purchase a can or box of stock at the grocery store, rather than reach into our freezer for homemade. I want to change this in my own home. Over the past few months, in addition to already baking my own breads and pastries from scratch, and making ice cream, I have started cleaning out my pantry of canned beans, and beginning to use dried beans, soaking them in a mixture of warm water and raw apple cider vinegar over night before cooking. I have also recently purchased a yogurt maker and the cultures for yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, creme fraiche and fromage blanc. Along those same lines, I have also started making bone broths. Bone broths are rich and nutritious as they contain gelatin which actually aids digestion and joint function. It also acts as a “protein sparer” that allows the body to more fully utilize the proteins that are taken in with it. To read more about the benefits of bone broth, check out Jenny’s blog, The Nourished Kitchen.

I have always made stocks with the bones from roasted chickens, and I have even been known to bring home fish bones and heads from the restaurant to make fish stock, but I have never made a stock with the whole animal, since I normally prepare it a different way. By following the directions, in Nourishing Traditions, I decided to do just that, boil up a chicken, for 24 hours, and then make a whole other meal with the cooked chicken (they have a ton of recipes dedicated to just this!).

I have to admit I had a fabulous time with this broth. You don’t have to cook it for 24 hours, you can do it from anywhere between 6-24 hours. But I figured for my first time, I might as well go all the way! It was very satisfying to cook a broth for this long – the house smelled amazing, and I was really in domestic bliss. Once the cooking was over, I waited for the broth to cool, and then I packed it, 2 cups (for convenience) at a time in freezer bags. I got 13 cups of stock!

tostadas_ready-to-eat

With the chicken I decided to make chicken tostadas. Roberto’s brother is visiting from Italy, and has never had Southwestern food before, and I was really craving it. So we gave it a go! It made enough for all of us (me and two very hungry menfolk) with leftovers! That plus the stock is certainly 2 for 1. I paid about $7 for the organic free range chicken, and maybe $1 for all the veggies that went into the stock. Add about $7 tops for all the toppings, tortillas and extra bits for the tostadas, and we are at a grand total of $15 for 6 meals and 13 cups of chicken stock (usually about $4 for 3 cups at the grocery for organic). That is less than $2 a man sized meal PLUS the stock. In my opinion that is money well spent. Who says it is expensive to eat organic, good quality food?

Chicken Stock from Nourishing Traditions

INGREDIENTS:

1 whole free range chicken, or 2-3 lbs of chicken parts (necks, backs, breastbones and wings)

chicken gizzards (optional)

chicken feet (optional)

4 quarts of cold filtered water

2 TBS vinegar

1 onion coarsely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 celery sticks, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 bunch of parsley (I used from the garden)

METHOD:

Of you are using a whole chicken, remove neck and wings. Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all veggies, except parsley. Let stand for 30 minutes to an hour. Bring to a boil and remove the scum that floats to the top. Reduce heat, and cover. Simmer for 6-24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add the parsley. This imparts additional minerals to the broth.

Remove the chicken or pieces with a slotted spoon. If you are using a whole chicken, let it cool before removing the meat from the carcass. Reserve for later use. The skin and “weird” pieces can be given to a pet (trust me, ours loved it!). Strain the stock into a large bowl and keep in the fridge until it cools and the fat can be skimmed off the top (several hours). Skim off the fat and reserve the broth.

This stock can also be made using turkey or duck.

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Chicken Tostadas

adapted from Nourishing Traditions

tostadas_preparing

INGREDIENTS:

Meat from one whole chicken (from making stock)

1 large onion chopped

2 red peppers, seeded and diced

1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced

3 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1 cup pureed tomatoes

1 cup chicken stock

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp cumin

½ tsp red chili flakes

1 TBS Mexican mole seasoning

1 tsp sea salt

1 clove of garlic, peeled and mashed

6 whole wheat tortillas

6 TBS extra virgin olive oil

toppings:

1 head romaine lettuce finely chopped

grated cheese

salsa

avocado slices

plain Greek yogurt

METHOD:

Saute onions and peppers in 3 TBS olive oil until soft. Add tomato puree, stock, spices and garlic. Cut up chicken meat and stir in. Check seasonings and simmer for 15 minutes or so until most of the liquid has evaporated. Meanwhile saute tortillas in olive oil until crisp, drain on paper towels and keep warm in the oven. To serve place a tortilla on each plate, spoon chicken mixture on top and serve with toppings. Serves 6.