Homemade Chicken Broth

 

I remember reading my mom’s recipes when I was a little girl. There was a recipe from my Great Grandma Ruth entitled “Bone Soup” and I thought it was the funniest thing ever. Why would ANYONE want to make soup out of bones? There’s no meat on them?! I used to think that my great grandma, who raised 7 children in the hills of southern Oregon was crazy. I mean… who makes soup out of bones? Well, growing up has a way of saying “I told you so” and the simple answer is: Me. I drink a quart or two a day, it is the stuff that gives me energy and has been so instrumental in my healing journey. I use it for all of my soup bases and will add it to casseroles, roasted veggies, mashed veggies. You name it and it’s probably being added to a meal. Incognito style.

Broth is ancient – think Stone Age ancient and go back to the time where organ meats were king. The first soups were made by placing hot rocks in the abdominal pouches of butchered animals in order to slowly cook up mixtures of meat, bone, fat, herbs, wild grains and vegetables. To this day, there is some record of nourishing broth, either oral or written, in almost every culture.

Until the modern invention of mass canning (think Campbell’s and Progresso), many homes had a cauldron or large pot in which they kept broth simmering on the back burner. Even Downton Abbey gave a nod in Season 5 to the importance broth had in by-gone eras with The Dowager Countess (I just love her character) quipping, “every good lady’s maid should know how to make a restorative broth.” While I have no dreams or aspirations of becoming a lady’s maid, I do think that every single person should know how to make a restorative broth. 

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Napa Cabbage Soup

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted a recipe. I sprained my ankle right before Christmas and was down for the count. I’m finally getting around enough that cooking, carrying plated food over to the window where I take my photos and balancing a camera… and maintaining balance myself, aren’t daunting tasks. Not to mention that the natural lighting has been working against me. It’s been exceptionally dark and dreary these past few weeks – even for Oregon. We’ve been socked in fog “‘thicker than frozen snot on a door knob,” according to Portland’s National Weather Service Office. So much so that my dad, who’s an umpteenth generation Oregonian, commented on how miserable it is.

Today’s soup is perfect for the dead of winter. I have fond memories of playing at a friend of our family’s farm out of Troutdale, OR. They lived in a house up on a bluff above the Sandy River and running around exploring and tormenting the older brother was heaven (it was two girls against one boy – poor kid!). They were (and still are) basil farmers and their house always smelled of the delicious, rich smell of fresh basil. So many fond memories in that house up on the bluff. My family was so taken with this simple soup that my mother had to ask for the recipe and it’s been a staple ever since in our family. I’ve made a few modifications to it over the years but for the most part, it remains the same. The best way to describe this soup is simple Italian peasant food. It’s nothing remarkable when you look at the ingredients but the flavors meld themselves together in such a harmonious blend… it’s impossible to not over-indulge and have one too many bowls.

It’s the kind of soup that will pump the lifeblood back into your bones on a cold winter’s day (or a day with dense fog) and won’t leave you overly full…. and only takes 30 minutes to cook! (Eat your heart out, Rachel Ray!)

But before the recipe, a few notes: You really want to use napa cabbage (also known as Chinese cabbage) with this soup. It’s far more delicate than your typical “green cabbage” and cooks down nicely. You retain much of the crunch and texture of the cabbage but it’s not your “normal” thick pieces. Napa cabbage can easily be found at a farmer’s market or a natural foods store – if you aren’t sure which is napa, just ask!

 

Napa Cabbage Soup

  • 1 head organic napa, shredded
  • 5 pieces organic, nitrate-free, pastured bacon, sliced (can also use half a pound of a clean pancetta – this gives it an even more delicate Italian flavor)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28-oz can organic diced tomatoes, BPA-free lining
  • 7 cups meat stock
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 12-month aged, raw Parmesan for garnish (optional)
  1. In a medium-large stock pot, over medium heat, cook bacon (or pancetta) until done. Remove bacon from pan, leaving fat at the bottom. Cut up cabbage while bacon is cooking.
  2. Add garlic and saute in the bacon fat until golden, stirring often.
  3. Add tomatoes and juice from can and shredded cabbage. Stir.
  4. Add filtered water and meat stock and stir. Cover with a lid and simmer on low for about 20 minutes, or until cabbage is cooked.
  5. Add bacon back to soup and add sea salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with shredded Parmesan (optional) and an extra dollop of fat (such as coconut oil, grass-fed ghee, or more bacon fat) (optional).
A quick and easy GAPS, RESTART Program, Keto, Paleo, Whole30, and, most importantly, DELICIOUS soup that only takes 30 minutes to make!

Simple Vegetable Soup

I feel almost bad posting this recipe. It’s just so easy. And I always get rave reviews so with tomorrow being the Friday Soup Supper at my church – it’s more or less a tradition during Lent, this is sure to be a crowd pleaser. (And if people don’t like healthy food, I won’t complain – I’ll be set with leftovers for quite a few days!) But back to the rules of Friday Soup Suppers:

  • No meat products, whatsoever.
  • No meat products, whatsoever.
  • No meat products, whatsoever…. minus fish and shellfish.
  • It must be soup.

Following? K. Good. The rules are simple… thankfully. I wanted to sneak in some bacon fat… but didn’t want to risk it. And, I really wanted something I could eat for a change. (It’s not usual that I get to eat at a church gathering.) So, rather than buy something pre-made from the store as was suggested (ew! Why would I do that to people?!?!?), I decided to toss some veggies together with a few spices and call it good.

Literally.

That’s all I did.

Oh, and I tossed in some red pepper flakes? Why? Because I can. And I like to keep people on their toes.

Note: I HATE cutting up veggies for soup. A few years ago, I bought a veggie cuber thingy. I use it so so so much in the summer when I’m making cucumber and tomato salads or have a bunch of onions to quickly cut or… am making veggie soup. It’s somewhat of a pain to clean as the blades are super sharp. (I’ve been known to kill my finger a few times on it.) But after a while, I’ve learned a technique that works for me. Anyway, it’s not one of my favorite gadgets but for stuff like this, I highly recommend it (especially if you have a BB&B 20% coupon).

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Simple Vegetable Soup

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 organic zucchini, cubed
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped 
  • 3 carrots, cubed
  • 2 28-oz organic crushed tomatoes in BPA-free cans
  • 4 qt water
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose seasoning (salt and MSG-free, I use the Oregon Spice Blend, bought at Bob’s Red Mill Store in Milwaukie, the blend in the bulk organic spice section at Fred Meyer’s/Kroger’s or the organic blend from Costco)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  1. In a medium sized stock pot, saute onions in EVOO over medium heat until translucent.
  2. Add garlic and continue to saute for another minute.
  3. Toss in carrots and cauliflower and sautee until tender. Add zucchini and stir. Let sit for another three to four minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes (and all of their juice!) and water. Stir and add spices.
  5. Simmer over medium-low for half an hour, or until veggies are cooked. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Tomato Orange Bisque

Stormy weather can only mean one thing: soup that’s bright and fresh. And this one won out. I had all the ingredients on hand and didn’t need to run to the store – always a major victory in my book.

This dish can easily be made paleo by substituting the butter for coconut oil and the cream for full-fat coconut milk. I made today’s batch with coconut oil and pasture-raised heavy whipping cream. There is a farm in Mulino, OR that I like and the local market sells it. Their cows are raised well and their cream is fantastic. It’s not raw, unfortunately, but it’s also non-homogenized. I’ll take some victory where I can get it. And once in a while, it’s a nice treat.

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The inspiration for this recipe is from Elephant Delicatessen, a Portland-based deli. Their bisque is city-famous and has never disappointed.

A little note: You can transfer this soup to a blender and blend it that way… but I hate doing that. Hot things splashing around and the risk of burns do not sound like a lot of fun. (You’re reading the blog of a girl who once dumped boiling water on her stomach on accident…. so yea. I’m paranoid. And a bit accident prone.) I bought a handy-dandy immersion blender a few years ago. It’s saved me. And my stomach (literally) a few too many times. If you’re wondering how you’re going to afford one, a month of no Starbucks venti whatever-it-is-you-drink will quickly cover the cost. (And save your stomach – Starbucks. Really? Ew.) They can be found on Amazon here or at any store that sells kitchen tools. When I bought mine, they only had chrome. If I was able to do it over again, I’d totally get the turquoise. On a serious note, it’s a must-have for any paleo or primal foodie… or anyone who values not having a second-degree burn (and I still have the small scar to prove it… not that I will).

Bon Appétit!

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Tomato Orange Bisque

  • 3 tbsp unsalted organic grass-fed butter (like Kerrygold) or coconut oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 28-oz can unsalted organic diced or whole tomatoes (BPA-free lining)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup fresh organic orange juice (about three oranges)
  • ½ cup organic pasture-raised raw cream or full-fat coconut milk
  1. Melt the butter (or coconut oil) in a stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add tomatoes, salt, black pepper, baking soda and thyme. Bring to a boil.
  3. Lower heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
  4. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup in the stock pot.
  5. Add orange juice and whipping cream or coconut milk.
  6. Bring to a simmer, adjust flavor with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve hot.

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Carrot Ginger Soup

This winter seems to be taking FOR.EV.ER. Maybe it’s because I spent a few weeks sicker than a dog. And wasn’t running. Or eating. Or doing much other than sleeping and drinking my mom’s chicken broth. (Best broth in the whole, wide world – I’ll have to do a post on that someday soon.) Or maybe it’s because we’re in the middle of a cold snap in the Portland area and when I woke up at 8am, it was still 24 degrees out. No outdoor run for me – time to get myself to the gym.

Regardless of the reasons why this winter is dragging on, there is one thing that makes it completely bearable: Soup. Especially soup with lots of healing properties and natural anti-inflammatory and anti-viral ingredients. The fresh ginger soothes an upset stomach and the garlic works as a powerful anti-viral – it’s one of the most powerful natural anti-virals around! (Just when your doctor told you there was nothing to do for a cold!)

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Around our house, organic carrots are a staple. We eat them like Bugs Bunny (exhibit A above with my sister chowing down on her carrot) and use the peels for our chicken stock. A great source of carotenoids, it forms Vitamin A once inside the body, which acts as an anti-viral and helps to support the liver, pancreas, and kidney… a good thing when the weather has you down.

Also, save your carrot peels, onion skins, and onion top! We keep our vegetable “garbage” in a gallon-sized ziploc bag in the veggie tray in the fridge. You can use them for making your own chicken broth – the peels of the carrots contain lots and lots of vitamins and minerals. Just make sure to throw away the carrot caps, they’re bitter and don’t add anything to the soup. Also, don’t both with saving the garlic pieces – garlic and chicken stock don’t mix. Ever.

If you’re sick or looking for a good soup that will warm throughout during the long winter months, this just might be your soup.

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Carrot Ginger Soup

  • 2 lbs organic carrots, scrubbed and peeled, or just scrubbed
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 4 tbsp organic grass-fed butter (such as Kerrygold)
  • 2 cups organic homemade chicken broth
  • 1 13.5oz can whole-fat coconut milk (no fillers)
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • ½ – ¾ tsp sea salt
  • ½ – ¾ tsp fresh-cracked pepper
  • 2 tbsp dried or fresh parsley, chopped (as garnish)
  1. Steam the carrots with two tablespoons butter until soft.
  2. While the carrots are steaming, saute the onion in the remaining two tbsp butter over medium heat, add garlic after onions after a few minutes, and continue to saute until onions are slightly caramelized. 
  3. Combine steamed carrots, garlic and onions, and the rest of the ingredients in a stock pot and blend with an immersion blender until the soup is completely creamed. Or, combine in a large bowl and, using small quantities and multiple batches, blend with a standing blender. NOTE: Be especially careful if using a standing blender as hot items can rapidly expand with the increase in velocity and the blender contents could explode if too full or if there is no firm pressure on the lid.
  4. Heat the blended soup until warmed throughout and serve garnished with dried parsley.

Serves 4.

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Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some soup to eat.

Nutty Onion Soup

This was the first soup I had ever eaten where the main ingredient was nuts – cashews to be exact. It’s a recipe from The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book by Jessica K. Black, N.D. If you’re on this diet or are wanting to cleanse yourself (I’d get in contact with a naturopath doctor to find out if this diet is right for you first), then this book is a must have on your shelf.

I’d like to think I’m clever and came up with the recipe. Unfortunately, lying has never been my strong suit. This soup was surprisingly delicious. I didn’t really know what to expect. Dr. Black wrote that her daughter liked it and I usually figure if a picky child likes it, it’s at least palatable. However, this was fabulous. And filling. And low-ish in calories. (500 calories per serving but I would have been happy with just this soup and some broccoli, forget the side salad I also served.) And high in protein and potassium. And Joe asked if I could make it again. And it’s good on its own but it would also be a good base – adding broccoli would be wonderful!

I ended up buying a coffee grinder that is dedicated specifically to seeds and nuts. No coffee will be used in it. Ever. Period. No further discussion on that topic. They’re only $20 and if you’re doing this diet, I highly recommend dishing out a few bucks for one. And an immersion blender. It will save your life. And be the most wonderful kitchen gadget you could possibly buy. I use mine almost daily. 

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Enjoy!

Nutty Onion Soup

  • 1 quart (4 cups) organic chicken broth or vegetable broth (check for nightshades!)
  • 1 ½ cups filtered water
  • 2 cups cashews or blanched and hulled almonds (I used a blend)
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 3 tbsp cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp marjoram
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chives for a garnish
  1. Grind the nuts in a coffee grinder until very fine. (This can be done ahead of time and stored in a container in the fridge.)
  2. In a soup pot, saute the onions in the olive oil on medium-high heat until translucent. Let the onions cool a bit if you’re using a standing blender.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot. Use your immersion blender (or put everything in a standing blender) and blend until the soup is creamy. (If using a standing mixer, transfer back to the soup pot.
  4. Simmer on medium heat for 20-30 minutes. Season to taste. Serve warm, garnish with minced chives.