Monday, May 10, 2010

Bone Broth and Pho Ga(on a budget) and Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

 Sally Fallon from Nourishing Traditons  stresses the importance of bone broth for our health.  The nutrients from bone marrow are greatly lacking in our modern diet, but used to be a great source of nutrition..  You hear about how a good chicken soup can help cure the flu or a cold...Well, I believe it!! In our family, we usually buy a chicken a week..or every other week and we use ALL of it.. It makes at least 3-4 meals.  First the roasted chicken meal, then the left-over chicken for sandwhiches or stir-fry (or added to soup) and then the soup made from the broth from the bones which often makes enough broth for 2 soups or 1 very large soup.  If I don't buy chicken that week, I often have bones left in my freezer from making the pet food, or bones from lamb and beef (which we buy from a farmer) Once a year(or every 9-10 months), we buy 1/8 cow, and 1/2 lamb and from those orders we get our meat, our suet(for making soap), our bones for broth and for our dog.

In any case, here is how I make my broth (the crockpot way) (or you can use a stock pot and simmer all day...boiling in the beginning, then turn down the heat)

Bone Broth
1 chicken carcass
filtered water
about 2TB vinegar (it helps the water absorb the nutrients from bones, marrow)
(vegetable scraps on hand)--stems from collard, brocolli, asparagus, etc)
bay leaf

(if you know you are making pho--add  star anise,  cloves,  and cilantro stems if you have them), you can even add a little cinnamon

I place all of this in the crockpot and let it cook all day (occasionally stirring) (or stockpot)This could be done the day before you make the soup if you want to skim any impurities off the top when it cools?  I often skip this part..(perhaps I shouldn't?) I usually make the broth and the soup on the same day.  I then take a measuring cup and strain it through a fine mesh strainer into the pot I wish to make soup out of.  It is absolutely wonderful..and everytime I feed it to my family, I feel like I am helping to protect them from bad illnesses...  Knock on wood, but our colds have been quite mild this year..  The ginger is great for digestion and for staying healty as well..(so I add it to my broth from the start)

So, from this broth, comes infinite possabilities!

I have really gotten into making soups this past couple of years and Pho Ga is one soup my children will eat a whole bowl of.

Pho Ga on a budget (much cheaper than take-out!)

this past week's version with lettuce and homemade sourdough bread

 The trick is that you can play around with the soup. I make it last week and I did not have all the "official ingredients" such as bean sprouts, so I improvised. This time I used lettuce instead, another time cabbage (and they both work)  You can also have pho ga without the added "treats"  and it is good as a very simple soup as well.

For your basic soup
Chicken Broth  
add to the broth:
2TB sugar (or honey or whatever you'd like to add a little bit of sweet)
and some fish sauce (about 2 TB)??  

On the Side:  (so much fun for kids to add these to their own bowl of soup)

Chicken chopped up/
rice noodles
bean sprouts (or cabbage or lettuce, etc)
basil leaves
lemon wedges
hot peppers
spriachia sauce
cilantro leaves
fresh garlic/ginger
This soup can really knock the flu or cold on its back!! (esp with the jalepeno peppers)

Strawberry Rhubarb
Last night, to conclude Mother's Day (and to use up some of the rhubarb growing in our garden and CSA and use up some of the strawberries in our freezer) I made this recipe from Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  (a very very good book!)--and this recipe is absolutely delicious topped with some whipped cream. It is easier/quicker to make this than a pie (if you are feeling the desire to have pie, but don't have the time)


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