Sunday, April 19, 2020

RECIPE: COVID Chicken Broth with Leeks, Carrots, Onions, Garlic

I'm calling this "COVID-19 Broth" because I developed it to help us resist the disease.

Several of the practitioners I follow recommended collagen-rich broth, as well as alliums (onions, leeks, scallions), carrots and garlic, to boost your immune defenses.  I needed to make more broth anyway, but I was all out of chicken feet, which are rich in collagen, so I adjusted my recipe slightly:  I increased the amounts of the above mentioned vegetables, and added collagen powder.  If you have trouble sourcing feet, this is one way to overcome that.

I made a large batch, so we could have some every day.  You can scale down if necessary.

Please read the detailed directions in this post first, before proceeding with this recipe.

COVID-19 Chicken Broth with Extra Collagen

Makes 12 quarts

3 whole chickens, with feet if possible
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T. himalayan pink salt
4 leeks, cleaned and chopped into 1" pieces
10 carrots, scrubbed and chopped into 1" pieces
4 heads of garlic, halved
2 cups chopped onions and/or onion skins (I used the skins, I keep a bag in the freezer)
1 bulb of celeriac, scrubbed, or 4 stalks of celery, cut into 1" pieces
1 small bunch parsley
4-5 bay leaves
1 t. allspice or juniper berries
12 scoops collagen powder from pasture raised animals

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Place the chickens in a deep roasting pan and roast until they're nicely browned, 30-45 minutes.

Fill a large stockpot with 12 quarts water (my pot holds 16 quarts) and add the vinegar and salt.

Transfer the chickens and any juices into the stock pot filled with water (BE CAREFUL - I didn't realize their cavities were full of fat, and I made a HUGE mess on my cooktop!!).

Fat everywhere!!

Turn heat on low, and bring slowly to a gentle simmer.  Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer - small bubbles rising up through the water - DO NOT LET IT BOIL!!  If it boils, your stock will be cloudy.  Cook, with the cover on, for 24 hours.

Chicken in 12 qts water before and after 24 hours.

Add the vegetables, herbs and spices and cook for 12-24 hours.

Veggies in broth before and after 24 hours.

Strain the broth and discard the meat and veggies.  I used a large cheesemaking bag set over a colander, set over an 8-quart bowl.  I removed the solids first, using a skimmer, and discarded them.

Even without the solids, the pot was too heavy for me to tip the broth into the strainer so I used a 1-quart saucepan as a ladle! 

Removing the solids, then straining the broth.

Isn't this the most beautiful chicken broth you've ever seen?!  I couldn't believe how rich it looked and tasted!

Can you believe this is CHICKEN broth?!

My pressure canner will only hold 7 quart jars so I transferred 7 quarts of broth into an 8-quart stock pot to reduce its volume.  I set this stock pot over medium heat, to maintain a gentle boil, and let it cook with the lid off until reduced by half, about 2 hours. 

Here comes the hard part...adding the collagen powder.  

I used this recipe by Fearless Eating as a guide:  Adding collagen powder to broth

If you add the collagen powder to hot liquid it will clump.  DON'T DO IT!  When I tried it (yes, I had to see for myself) it seized up immediately and I was unable to break up the big clumps!

Fearless Eating recommends adding it to cold water, but I didn't want to dilute my beautiful broth so I transferred 6 cups of broth to a baking dish to cool.  You can see it in the 'beautiful' photo further up.

When the broth reached room temperature, I added one scoop at a time using a fine mesh strainer and whisking in-between.  It still clumped a bit towards the end, but those small clumps dissolved when I added it to the warm stock.  I used half the amount called for in the Fearless Eating recipe because I didn't want it aspic hard, just pleasantly viscous.  After adding 12 scoops I knew I couldn't add any more so I set it aside to gel.

Adding collagen to cool broth, starting to gel, solid after a few minutes!

By the time I had managed to get all the collagen into the cooled broth, the remaining broth wasn't warm enough to melt the now-solid collagen-broth so I turned my attention to the stock reducing on the cooktop.

When it had reduced by half, I stirred in half the collagen-broth.  After it melted, I transferred 3 quarts into quart jars, and put the remaining quart into two pint jars for immediate use.

I then transferred the remaining 4 quarts of stock into the same pot, heated it to just under boiling, and stirred in the remaining collagen-broth.  I transferred this into 5 quart jars which gave me 4 quarts for my pressure canner, and 1 quart for immediate use.

In the photo below are the 4 quarts of full strength stock on the left, and 1 quart of the double-strength stock on the right.  It's so rich it looks like beef stock, doesn't it!  I also couldn't tell the difference between the full strength and the double strength so I labelled them before I processed them.

Chicken broth ready for the pressure canner.

NOTE: I left 2" headspace because I didn't want to risk loosing any of this delicious nectar, which is why, if you were counting, I ended up with 4 quart jars of double strength stock and 5 quart jars of single strength which adds up to more than the original 12 quarts of liquid - each jar held less than a full quart.


On the left is a photo of the cooled double broth.  I add 2 T to a small mug, add a bit of Himalayan pink salt and fill it with hot water.  Imagine how stiff the broth would be if I had used double the amount of collagen!  (The cloudy stuff on the top is fat.  There would be more if I hadn't spilled it all over my cooktop!)

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