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Soups for the Soul

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I’m not one for wasting food. One of the best ways to get the most out of your roast dinner over a weekend is to use the bones & little scraps of meat left over to make a great stock for gravy & sauces, to be frozen for another time or to make the most heartwarming and delicious bowl of goodness – a soup for the soul.

Making your own broth/stock is apparently highly nutritious – rich in vitamins and antioxidants especially Phosphorous, Magnesium, and Calcium – so great for bone health.  Also, I have read (in science literature) that bone broth contains two very valuable amino acids called Proline and Glycine – these are the key components of building connective tissue – the biological glue that literally holds our body together and in addition, these amino acids also help to reduce inflammation in the body.  Perhaps this is why home-made chicken soup is always recommended for people recovering from colds or sickness.

I have two soup recipes here; one is Chicken soup and the other is an Asian-inspired Duck soup.  For the Chicken soup I used whole grain or brown rice – this is more nutritious than white rice and is a low GI option (for a less hearty soup just leave the rice out).  I also topped it with my favourite superfood veggie, Kale!

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For the Duck soup – I topped it with Dulce which a slightly spicy and highly nutritious seaweed (Iron, B6, B12 & Iodine) – it works well with fish & seafood dishes but also great in this soup. You could perhaps try adding buckwheat or quinoa noodles which would make a nice low GI addition, but this weekend when I made it, I left the noodles out as I wanted something a little lighter to compliment the glorious weather!

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For the Chicken Soup:

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken (carcass left over from a roast dinner)

enough filtered water to completely cover the carcass – (about 2 litres I found)

1 onion

2 sticks celery

2 carrots

2 bay leaves

2 cloves garlic

good pinch of Himalayan salt

black pepper

small bunch of fresh herbs – thyme, rosemary, parsley (or whatever you prefer)

100g Kale, shredded

50g cooked brown rice (optional)

Method:

1) Put the chicken carcass in a large casserole pan.  Pour in enough filtered water to completely cover the chicken. I have been known to just do this stage, put the lid on and leave it until the next morning to go on to the next stage – it just depends on how much time you have.

2) Next throw in a pinch of salt & pepper, the bay leaves, a few sprigs of rosemary & thyme (save the parsley for later,) 1 carrot – whole, 1 stick of celery – whole, half an onion (no need to chop) – then lid on. Bring the water up to a boil, before lowering the temperature right down to the lowest setting, and simmering away for about 4 hours until the bones separate when prodded.  Time enough, to do some house chores, sort your schedule out for the week, read a book, watch a movie or whatever floats your boat! 😉

2) Put a colander over a large bowl and pour the meat broth into it.  Allow to cool. What you then do, is pick out any bits of meat left and set aside for later – throw out the bones, skin, veg & herbs etc.

3) Put the broth in the fridge for 30 minutes or so – this will help any fat to solidify a bit on the top.  You can then skim the fat off with a large spoon.  If you just want to use this for stock you can either freeze the lot or pour into ice trays to make “stock cubes,” to use in sauces for later.

4) Then put the clarified broth back into your large casserole pan.  Add the shredded meat, crushed garlic, and the last of the veg: onion (finely chopped), celery, carrot – roughly chopped (I like mine quite chunky).  Then gently bring up to the boil and back to a simmer again.  Gently simmer for about 15 minutes.

5) When the carrot and celery are tender – but still with a bit of bite (you don’t want to lose all the vitamins by over-cooking!),  add in the cooked brown rice and warm through for about 2 minutes. Then add in the Kale, give it a good stir, turn the heat off and put the lid on for 5 minutes – this will wilt and steam the Kale.  Finally add the chopped parsley and more salt & pepper to taste. Serve on its own. If you have added the rice – it makes for a fully rounded lunch or light supper or if without the rice, you could serve it with a bit of Bella’s bread! 😉

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Asian inspired Duck Soup:

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Ingredients:

Duck carcass (I used a crown as it was on offer at the supermarket!)

enough filtered water to completely cover the carcass (again I found about 2 litres worked fine)

1 Carrot

1 stick celery

1 onion

4 star anise

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp juniper berries

6 spring onions, finely chopped (save the softer green ends to add at the end – why waste it?)

2 sticks lemon grass, finely chopped

1 courgette, finely chopped

50g fine green beans – chopped into inch long pieces

1 red chilli, chopped (take seeds out if you don’t like it too hot)

2 cloves garlic crushed

small bunch of coriander shredded

20g dulse (dried seaweed) you can get this from a health food or Asian supermarket.

1 tbsp Tamari – gluten-free soy sauce (available at most supermarkets make sure it is naturally brewed and GM free too)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 lime juice (optional)

Method:

1) Same as the chicken soup – cover the carcass in filtered water so completely submerged – add the bay leaves, star anise, juniper berries, whole carrot, whole onion, whole celery, salt, pepper.  Lid on, bring up to a boil then lower the temperature to lowest setting – simmer for about 4 hours.  Next, strain into a bowl and allow the liquid to cool. From the solid stuff you’ve just strained, pick out any bits of meat, and a few of the juniper berries and set them aside for later. Throw the bones skin, star-anise, veg etc out. Put the liquid broth in fridge for 30 minutes and when the fat has solidified a bit, skim it off the top.

2) Put the broth back into your casserole pan along with the meat and juniper berries that you set aside earlier, together with the garlic – crushed, chilli, lemon grass, courgette, white part of the spring onions and green beans. Gently simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes until the veg is tender – but again, not over done!

3) Put the Dulse (dried seaweed) into a bowl and cover with water to rehydrate.

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4) In the meantime, turn the heat off and add to the casserole pan, the green part of the spring onions and the shredded coriander – put the lid on and leave for a couple of minutes to wilt.

5) Finally rinse the Dulse thoroughly under cold water, gently tear it up and add to the casserole pan. Ladle the finished soup into bowls.  Season with black pepper and a splash of Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) and a few drops of sesame oil & a squeeze of lime to taste. If you like it spicy add a little extra fresh chopped chilli too.

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You might ask is it worth it? Well I definitely think so – your not wasting anything and you get a few more meals out of that Sunday roast, not to mention all those health-boosting powers! 🙂

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