Thursday, April 10, 2008

Divine's Home-Made, Low-Carb Chicken Broth

Canned broth, consomme and bouillon. At one point or another, we've probably tried them at least once. The problem is finding a low-sodium version that really is low-salt (read the label; you'll be surprised to see how low it isn't).

So, although I now prefer quick 'n' easy low-carb meals, I don't bother with grocery store options for broth but make my own.

In fact, I am convinced my clear chicken stock facilitates weight loss. I enjoy it mostly in the afternoons and evenings, between meals. It’s tasty, warm, satisfying, features organically grown spring broilers (and veggies, when I can find them) and – best of all – it’s home-made!

With mostly low-carb veggies (parsnips, mushrooms, green pepper, dandelion greens, celery) and with even "higher" carb choices (tomato, green onion), this is a very nutritional, low-carb, and flavorful broth - and I control the sodium content! (Btw, the mushrooms add the "salt" flavor we might miss, without upping sodium. Mushrooms also add low-carb nutrition!)

For 8 quarts:

1 left-over spring or roasting chicken (with the skin, pre-roasted)
*2 large parsnips (top cut off)1 or 2 whole turnips (top "nubs" cut off)
1/2 bunch of green onions (end strings cut off)
1 cup fresh mushrooms
1 tomato (with skin)
1/2 - 1 whole green pepper (with seeds and "whites" inside removed)
1 bunch dandelion greens
1/2 of a celery "bunch"
Optional: ½ head cabbage
For flavoring: Mrs. Dash No-Sodium Garlic with Herbs (for seasoning) or low-sodium salt, parsley, oregano, onion and garlic powder (not salt!)

*If using an uncooked chicken, be sure to skim off the soup base as it cooks.

1. Wash vegetables. Peel parsnips and turnips (if desired, but not necessary.)(If using an uncooked chicken, and not left-overs, rinse thoroughly.)
2. Place left-over chicken carcass and vegetables in an 8 qt. crockpot, add 7.5 qts. water, put top on, set to high and cook for 4 hrs (set on low; 8 hrs.) Or use an 8 qt. sauce pan (no top) and simmer gently 3-4 hrs.
3. Strain vegetables and chicken into a large bowl (or two). When the chicken has cooled, pull white (and/or dark) meat from the bones and place in either small-serving freezer bags or freezer-safe plastic containers. (Very useful for small meals, like chicken “salad” with low-fat ranch dressing or low-fat mayonnaise.)
4. When broth is cool, pour into sealable containers (a 10 qt. Tupperware bowl with seal is great! Or use 2-3 smaller Tupperware bowls). Place bowl(s) in the coldest part of the refrigerator – you want this to stay as fresh as possible for up to 5 days.
5. For use, just reheat the desired amt. and drink as many cups as desired - every day throughout the week! (I aim for 2-4 12 oz. mugs per day.)


Since the old rule of thumb for making wonderful, home-made chicken stock is to use at least 5 veggies, I simply looked for low-carb, nutritional options, as well as those that will add flavor. I use "1/2" amts. for the green onions, pepper, and celery only because I split each half into 2 pots. (We usually roast 2 broilers to feed my entire family, and I use the left-over chicken carcasses for 2 big pots of home-made broth.)

I'm sorry I can't give a total carb count, but it seems they are negligible when compared to canned broth. This recipe is very low-sodium – much lower than bouillion or low-fat canned broth. (I’ve discovered by trial and error that I have to be careful with sodium content, otherwise I look just like an upset blowfish.)

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