Friends, it is so nice to connect with you again after so much time. While work and life took me away from the kitchen for a while, this global pandemic has brought me home and back to my kitchen. It’s given me a chance to slow down, step away from the business of daily life, listen to my own inner voice and re-center.
People are stressed, anxious, and fearful about the virus. So many of us are trapped in our homes and stress-eating. It caused me to think about ways that we can help one another. I see a need in our global community (as well as within myself) to help transform our homes from a pandemic prison into a refuge. One of the best ways we can care for ourselves is by making our own nourishing foods.
The first thing we can do to help support our immune system is to make our own bone broths. I always buy whole chickens from local farms. I break them down myself and put the bones and giblets into a freezer bag until I have enough to make stock. If you can do this, great! If not, you can use the bones and carcass of a roasted chicken, or even a whole raw chicken (and save the meat after for things like Chicken pot pie).
Now, the method of making chicken bone broth that I am about to share varies from my usual because it includes the addition of herbs and mushrooms designed to support the immune system. I will make this variation and then just heat it with some shiitake mushrooms and scallions and drink it like tea. I have also taken to making stock in my InstantPot because it takes a fraction of the time, has virtually no evaporation (so my yield is higher), and it is more effective in pulling out all the marrow from the bones – giving me a lovely gelatinous stock when it cools.
Immune-Building Chicken Broth:
- 2-3 chicken carcasses and their giblets (neck, gizzard, heart)
- 1 large onion quartered (I leave the peel on for this process)
- 5 carrots roughly chopped
- 4 celery stalks (or equivalent) celery root roughly chopped
- 1 large parsnip roughly chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 2 pieces of reishi mushroom (approximately a finger length)
- 10-12 shiitake mushrooms (caps and stalks)
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup of fresh burdock root, scrubbed well then roughly chopped
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Normally, I would not add parsnip or so many carrots to the stock, but the mushrooms and the burdock can be strong, so the sweetness of the vegetables helps to counterbalance it. You will also notice that there is virtually no salt in this recipe. This is because I want to control the salt content based on usage. If I cook with this stock – I will add salt as needed. If I am just drinking it, I may not want salt at all. It depends on how successful I have been in hydrating myself when I drink it.
I add all the ingredients into the pot and fill it with water about ¼ inch above the ingredients, so they are submerged. I will cook this in the InstantPot on high pressure for 1 ½ hours. When it’s done – I wait for the pressure to reduce normally, and then I strain the stock. My first strain is scooping out the solids from the liquids. Then I pour the liquid through a mesh strainer lined with linen or paper towel. The second strain is through a fine mesh strainer into a storage container. I almost always save enough to drink a mug right from the pot too
I’ll drink a cup sometimes twice a day or more if I am feeling run down, or worried about my immune system. Sometimes, I’ll heat it with some shiitake mushroom caps and finish it with scallions – drinking it as a soup. The key to supporting your immune system with this broth is to drink it consistently every day during the period of stress to the body.
In the coming blogs, I will talk about other ways to support and nourish yourself through food. Stay tuned!