Many of you know that I have been teaching a Making Nutrient-Dense Stock cooking class for years now. Wonder if I could ever get ho-hum over making stock? No way! I keep trying new bones and new bone combinations…(from pastured animals, of course) remembering that to achieve a nutrient-dense, aka gelatinous stock, one must have more cartilaginous bones or joints than just boney bones. A few months ago, I experimented with ox tails! (Really, it was bison tails. I’ll tell you about real ox tails later.) Well, the other day, it was turkey necks! I can no longer contain my enthusiasm about the success of my turkey stock experiment. I must share it with you! Here goes!
A few days ago I walked into my local meat market, Rocky Plains Quality Meats, which features only grassfed and finished beef and bison, as well as pastured chicken, lamb, pork and occasionally turkey. I saw turkey necks in the refrigerator and decided I would try an experiment: turkey stock made from turkey necks. So I purchased about 2 pounds of necks, and brought them home.
Although I normally do not roast chicken necks if I use them, I roasted these turkey necks, as they were large and had a lot of meat on them. 350 F for 30 minutes on a parchment lined sheet pan. (I only roast what I call “meaty” bones…that is, bones which are mostly meat…to concentrate flavor and color!)
As I had a little over 2 pounds of necks, I decreased my usual 4 quarts of water (for 4 # of chicken bones) to 3 quarts of water, and added celery, carrots and onion. I also added one pair of chicken feet, and some chicken gizzards which I had in the freezer. I brought it all to a boil, skimmed and discarded the scum, and lowered the temperature so the stock would roll at a simmer, covered.
I simmered that stock about 30 hours total. (Chicken stock usually rolls for 6-24 hours, and I always go long. I figure if I am going to make stock, I’ll go the distance. I increased the number of hours for the turkey necks because they are a bigger bird.) After a few hours, I cut up the two chicken feet and all the necks with poultry shears, to expose the gelatin to the water.
After 30 hours, I strained the stock, let it cool on the counter, and then placed it in the refrigerator on the bottom shelf. It did not look particularly gelatinous when I strained it, in fact, I thought I most likely had achieved a thick, viscous stock, not one that would fully set up.
But I was pleasantly mistaken!! The next morning, viola! Gelatin gelatin gelatin! I could have cut it with a knife. Woo hoo! What did it? Some might say it was the chicken feet, but I only added 2 feet with all those necks…maybe it was because I cut up all the necks and the feet. Who knows? We do know that necks are full of cartilage…but I had never had stock made from chicken necks gel. Hmm. We may never know. I don’t really care, because I found a winner! Inexpensive, nutrient-dense and easy. Love it!
…and… hold on to your hats, folks, for an even GREATER thrill, I pulled the meat off the necks when it cooled, chopped it up, and made turkey STEW! I could have fed an army on that stew! (That means lots and lots of people.) The recipe could have easily taken another 2 quarts of stock and still been thick and hearty. I great meal. The stew was delicious AND nutritious! I invite you to make the recipe below and then when you are done, add an additional 2 quarts of stock. Try it! You’ll double your volume. Then you’ll have lots to freeze for quick and easy homemade meals! Here’s the basic recipe–I didn’t really measure for this one!
All ingredients are organic–so I won’t keep typing organic over and over!
Monica’s Turkey Stew
4 cups (yes, those necks yielded 4 cups!! Can you believe it?) turkey reserved from turkey stock, chopped up, bones removed
3 quarts turkey stock
1 cup wild rice (omit if grain free or use brown rice or a combination)
1 can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed through my fingers (like my Grandmother used to do when making pasta sauce…and my Mother and I still do!)–get a BPA free can or a glass jar if possible!
3 large carrots, diced (dice will make it easy to eat from a spoon)
1 medium zucchini, diced (can add more)
1 medium onion, minced (can be yellow or red, or replace with equivalent of leeks if you wish)
3 celery ribs, minced
1 can black olives, olives drained and cut in half (can also use green olives if you prefer)
fresh thyme, 3 sprigs plus 1-2 tsp dried
1T dried basil, more if desired
Celtic salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
First, add the wild rice to the stock. I like to use a 5 quart Dutch oven, but if you are going to add the additional stock, use an 8-10 quart stock pot. Bring to a boil, skim and discard scum. Lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook about 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, add vegetables. Bring back to a boil. Lower heat, cover and cook about 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, taste to be sure vegetables are tender. Add tomatoes and black olives (omit if you don’t like olives), salt and pepper and reserved turkey. Stir. Cook to warm through.
Ladle into bowls and add a tablespoon of creme fraiche to each bowl just before serving. (You may also choose to add yogurt, cultured buttermilk, sour cream, ghee or butter instead of creme fraiche. All of them taste delicious, and all of them help your body easily absorb the nutrients in the soup!)
Oh, and BTW, mix up your veggies, folks! Use what you have! I often add mushrooms if I have them, chopped up chard (add chard when you add the turkey so it doesn’t cook too long and get mushy), potatoes if you eat them, turnips, parsnips, etc etc etc. Mix up the spices for different flavors, too, depending on what you like.
Hello dear readers! Happy New Year to all of you!
I am writing because it is Monday…a Monday suggested to be “Meatless” by Food, Inc. and others. (Yep. All over FB today.) Heck, there’s a whole website and movement dedicated to it. It’s the start of a new year, and I’d just like to clear something up from the get-go.
I would LOVE “Meatless Mondays” if it was specified that the meat we are being asked to go without on Mondays was CAFO meat. That is, meat from animals raised in confinement–specifically, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, “CAFOs”. You see, a CAFO burger is not a burger…a CAFO steak is not a steak…one cannot compare meat from a CAFO operation with that from a pasture. CAFOs are also known as feedlots. (There are a lot of them out here in Colorado; I have the distinct displeasure of driving by them and the stench of them permeates the air some mornings, depending on how the wind blows. Ever put your head into a diaper pail filled with dirty diapers and taken a sniff? You get the idea. Repulsive. Hundreds and thousands of cows crowded on a dirt lot, standing in their own excrement, eating grain full of soy and corn and more–which is probably GMO. And that’s the meat we get to eat here in the USA.)
The vast majority of meat eaten in America comes from CAFOs. Yes, it does. That burger at your favorite burger joint, that filet mignon at that fancy French restaurant, the taco at your favorite Mexican restaurant…nearly all the beef in every supermarket in the country including Whole Foods Market (unless it is marked “grassfed” and “grass-finished”.) But let us not confuse meat from CAFOs with meat from animals raised on pasture as they are meant to be. Grassfed and -finished meat is good for the planet, good for the animals and good for you and your health. One just cannot compare CAFO meat with grass-fed and -finished meat. So let’s not lump them together, shall we? The health problems attributed to meat is not the meat that is raised on pasture, sustainably.
Grass-fed meat is good for the planet. Grass farming sequesters carbon! This knocks out the popular argument that eating meat contributes to global warming… “if you care about the planet, stop eating meat”. Oy. If all cows were on pasture, we would not have the methane gas problem that we do today, nor many of the other problems that feedlots produce including runoff and water pollution. The High Priest of Pasture, one of my heroes, Joel Salatin, talks eloquently about carbon sequestration all the time. Here’s a great talk Joel gave at TEDMED in DC April 2012. Chris Kerston of Chaffin Family Orchards also spoke on How Grassfed Beef will Save the World last November at the Weston A. Price Foundation annual conference.
Grass-fed meat is good for the animals because…well, duh. Animals are meant to express their “animal-ness”, to paraphrase Joel Salatin. Cows and bison are meant to eat grass. Chickens are meant to eat grass and bugs. It’s “humane” if that fits for animals, it’s ethical, and it’s natural. What’s good for the animals is good for us. Read on.
Grass-fed meat is good for us to eat because it is more nutritious, leaner, and chock full of Omega 3s (those Essential Fatty Acids your brain and your body needs) and CLAs (conjugated linoleic acid…with anti-cancer properties and many other good things!) Everyone knows that the nutrient profile of meat depends upon what the animal (or bird or fish) is fed. Meat from animals raised on pasture is simply more nutritious because it comes from animals that ate what they are supposed to eat. Grass. Also, you know this food is more nutrient-dense because you are not hungry an hour or two after you eat! You are satisfied.
But again, this is America, and the vast majority of meat eaten in this country is from animals in CAFOs. Not kidding. We can continue to patronize our crazy food system that perpetuates the confinement model, or we can make another choice; take a different path. Truth is, I would love it if EVERY day were declared a CAFO-meatless day! Can you imagine if everyone stopped eating meat from animals raised on feedlots or in cages? The entire fast-food industry would come crashing down…supermarket meat shelves would bulge with burger patties and steaks and hot dogs and sausages…and chicken tenders and breasts until they rotted past their expiration date. People would be healthier! Hospitals and doctors and prescription drug makers would have no takers! We would have more energy due to more nutrients in our bodies AND less toxins from our food. Heck, I daresay we would have a revolution on our hands!
Let’s do it.
Let’s make EVERY day a CAFO-meatless day! Or to say it differently, let’s make every day a pastured meat day! Vote with your pocket book, folks! Seek out meat from local sources (or not so local when necessary) that raise their animals on pasture. And make it a CAFO-meatless Monday! And Tuesday! And Wednesday! And…you get it. Eat Wild is a great site to find local grass-fed meat. And check with your local WAPF chapter for farmers, farmers markets, and CSAs near you.
(Don’t even get me started about all the milk Americans drink from confinement dairies. That will have to be for another time.)
Want to know the story behind Cooking for Well-Being, how it started and where I am going? Check out my article on The Healthy Home Economist blog…I am the featured guest blogger today! Thanks to Sarah Pope for the opportunity!
This is a yummy cake recipe that is easily adaptable…a “foundation” or a “basic” that anyone can learn and use. AND it is good for you. Gluten-free, grain-free, casein-free if you want it to be, and GAPS. So it’s a WIN WIN WIN for all…good for you and yummy too!
Okay, here goes. This recipe will yield one 9″ round, one bread loaf, or one dozen muffins.
2.5 cups almond flour
1/4-1/3 cup pastured butter, ghee, whey, plain organic yogurt or creme fraiche (your own 24 hour culture for GAPS), or coconut oil, duck fat, goose fat, OR lard if you want to be casein-free
2 tsp vanilla extract
NOTE: It is best for your digestion if you soak the almond flour for 24 hours in the whey, yogurt or creme fraiche. It will also give you a fluffier (yes, fluffy almond flour) cake. Simply mix the almond flour and the whey, yogurt or creme fraiche in a medium bowl, cover and leave out on the counter for 24 hours. (Out of the sun, covered with a towel or such.)
Whisk the eggs in a small bowl, then pour into the soaked almond flour and mix thoroughly. (If you choose not to soak the flour, simply combine the almond flour with the ingredient of your choice (butter, lard, goose or duck fat, yogurt, creme fraiche, etc. If you use butter or ghee, melt it first before you mix) and then pour the whisked eggs into the mixture and combine thoroughly.
Pour batter into a prepared 9 inch round pan. (Prepare by greasing well with a fat you love or by lining it with parchment paper cut to fit.) Smooth with a spatula.
Place in a preheated 350 F oven and bake for about one hour. (This will depend on your altitude.) I would start checking for doneness at 45 minutes. You will know it is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Options: add 1/2-1 cup of berries, raisins, currants, fruit-sweetened cranberries or blueberries or minced dried fruit right into the batter; grate in the zest of 2 organic lemons or oranges…add carob chips
Another option: To make a delightfully sweet treat, add in 2 cups baked, mashed butternut squash. I prefer to make these into muffins than a cake, because the squash makes it more moist and thus will take much longer to bake as a cake. Muffins are easier to monitor–that is to ensure they bake through and don’t burn. I would bake them as muffins for about 50 minutes at the same temperature, checking early. The addition of the butternut squash makes a delightfully sweet muffin.
As always, I encourage you to experiment, mix it up, use spices you love, and have fun!
Love real food? You know I do!! Teaching folks how to cook it and inspiring them back to the kitchen is my life’s passion! Check out the Real Food Summit, an online, free event that features some of my favorite Real Food Heroes…including JOEL SALATIN of Polyface Farms!! And Chris Masterjohn of the Daily Lipid! And many more.
More information HERE!
have a little phyto-ESTROGEN in your ice-pop, little girl or boy!!! Ice pops are TOXIC POPS!!
Yes, yes, indeed. Don’t look now–yes, LOOK NOW! They are adding SOY PROTEIN to ice pops! What’s so insidious about this? The soy is in the fine print. You’ve got to search for it, almost with a magnifying glass. Will the addition of food fractions and fake food and more than that MAJOR ALLERGENS to food never stop?! START READING THE LABELS, MOMS–and Dads–and everyone else…before you toss that “on sale for Memorial Day” “give your child a treat for summer” box of toxins into your shopping cart. And certainly before you start passing them out to all the neighborhood kids!
The time is NOW to start being smart about what we are feeding our children. Heck, the time is PAST now. We must be aware and awake. We must be reading the labels on anything that has a label! I have said it before and I’ll say it again…just because it is in a store does not mean the food is good for you! Heck, it may not even qualify for food at all!
So I write this post. For those of you who already make your own ice pops and popsicles from real ingredients for your children, kudos to you! Keep it up! Can be as easy as putting diluted orange juice in paper cups with popsicle sticks! Or weak lemonade made with maple syrup for that matter! Blend up some berries with coconut milk…Start a popsicle revolution in your neighborhood! In your school! Everywhere! Teach other moms how to make real food popsicles for their children. Turn the tide from electric blue, green, yellow and red toxic pops to a real pop! Once the kids get a taste, they will love your real pops. Just try it!
What’s the INJURY that is already in the ice pops? I will give you a hint…excito-toxins, GMOs, corn syrup…yes, yes, yes! Food dyes that have been linked to hyperactivity in children! For those of you who are going for the “healthier”, sugar free option, DON’T!! Aspartame is an excito-toxin! Excito-toxins make children –and adults– go crazy. Alter their thinking. Set their nervous systems to “berserk” mode. GMOs? Yep, in that corn syrup and High Fructose Corn Syrup! (Do your children need more sugar? more corn syrup? HFCS?!! I think not!) And now, for something really awful…soy protein! In an ice pop! One of the TOP ALLERGENS in this country. Full of phyto-ESTROGEN. Genetically Modified, of course (that means Frankenfood). AND an ANTI-NUTRIENT. What are they thinking?!! Whatever the Food Scientists (Mad Scientists, I would venture to say) are thinking about when they put SOY protein in an ice pop, it’s not about health, folks! From Dr. Kaayla Daniel’s The Whole Soy Story…here is a sample of health effects that have been linked to soy consumption: breast cancer, brain damage, infant abnormalities, thyroid disorders, kidney stones, impaired fertility…What’s “modified soy protein” anyway? Something from a lab. Again. And they are putting it in unsuspecting children’s ice pops?!! Even if it is a minute amount, it doesn’t belong there. Keep your allergenic, genetically modified, anti-nutrient, estrogenic and toxic food fractions OUT of our ice pops! The outrage!
Read the labels!
Make the ice pops!
Take back your and your child’s health!!
More on the dangers of sugar and fructose
And for those of you who are ready to venture into the kitchen and make your own, check out some recipes from Jenny of Nourished Kitchen–wholesome, real food, kid-tested and delicious!