You can always count on baked goods and chicken broth being available in my home. Every Sunday evening the scent of slowly simmering chicken broth will fill my kitchen through the night, much like baking this is a scent I always feel comforted by. I even enjoy the seemingly mundane process of straining and pouring the magical golden liquid into jars. Simple things like this give me a lot of pleasure, especially the thought of who I may nourish with this slowly prepared goodness.
I'm exited by all types of cooking but especially love the comfort, warmth, simplicity and slowness of traditional food. Traditional food is often simple, nutritious and functional.
For me traditional cooking is so much more than simple sustenance, it's a bridge, a connection, an anchor to thousands of years of nourishment. It's a sense of sharing, an ancient knowing and the development of tastes and flavours from family to family, hand to hand, country to country, season to season. Comfort and traditional food go hand in hand, simple traditional food. If you want to really heal and nurture with food it's rarely going to be a dainty fancy little plate that does it, true comfort in my opinion is warmth in a simple huggable bowl and chicken broth is the perfect start to this. Comfort food doesn't have to be unhealthy though it's sometimes the image that is conjured up when we hear the words comfort food. I feel that we are in desperate need of a traditional cooking revival for not just our health but for connection. I care deeply about food, I love to feed and nurture and what I think about above anything while I'm preparing food is how what I'm making will make someone feel. I want the person I'm cooking for to feel loved, nurtured and cared for, whether it's a herbal tea, cookie or health broth, I want it to be loving.
Now chicken broth is a firm favourite for me. It's a base for several of my recipes one being a warming ginger chicken health broth, something I enjoy as a ramen base or on it's own several times a week. This is also something I often make for new mothers. Chicken broth is super simple to make, it's warming, nourishing, nutritious and a true beauty food. Rich in collagen, nutrients, good for the digestion, immune system, balancing hormones and even nurtures the gut & flora. What's not to love? You can see why it makes a wonderful postnatal food. Below are two recipes, one for the simple broth and the other is the ginger chicken health broth. Enjoy!
Traditional chicken broth
- 1 Whole chicken carcass, either raw from the butchers or left over from a roast. (1 - 1.2kg inc chicken feet)
- 1 onion halved
- 1 celery stick roughly chopped
- 4 garlic clove
- 2 carrots
- sea salt and 10 peppercorns
- some herb sprigs like thyme and parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- splash of apple cider vinegar
- 2.8l spring water
Put all the ingredients in a large stock pan and bring to the boil. Lower to a very gentle simmer and leave for 4 hours or overnight. Once ready strain into large jars. if you are freezing strain into a jug then pour into freezer bags and freeze for up to 6 months.
Ginger chicken health broth
- 1ltr chicken broth
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp aniseed
- 2 chicken breast or 1 leg and 1 breast
- 8 shitake mushrooms sliced
- 2cm piece of fresh ginger grated
- 1tbsp rice vinegar
- splash of soy sauce
- half a lemon
- 1 tbsp goji berries
- sliced spring onion, fresh chilli (optional), fresh coriander
Put the broth in a pan with the chicken and poach on a medium to low heat until cooked through. This should take roughly 20 mins.
Remove the chicken and set aside to cool. Continue to simmer the broth for a further 30 - 40 minutes with the mushrooms vinegar, soy sauce, fennel & aniseed seeds and lemon half, topping up the water if needed. Add the goji berries for the last 10 minutes.
Remove the lemon and serve the broth in deep bowls, season and top with shredded or thinly sliced chicken and the corriander, chilli and spring onion. Sometimes I like to add a sliced hard boiled egg, sliced pickled vegetables, feel free to make it your own but keep it light and cleansing.