Saturday, June 9, 2012

Simple Chicken or Turkey Broth and Gravy

Recently I've had a stomach bug and been required to be on a very simple diet of broth, rice, applesauce, toast and the like. They call it the BRAT diet. Unfortunately, I'm allergic to carrots which they usually put in chicken broth and the like. (don't believe me? Read the ingredients list)

Luckily for me, Carlie has made me a simple home made chicken broth! It's just the thing when I'm sick. Ate it all but I'm still not better, so tonight she's going to buy 2 turkey drumsticks to make some turkey broth for a change. She's made it in the past for me after I had my tonsils out, and it's delicious! Plus you can't find anything like Turkey Broth at the store, so I thought I'd go ahead and share the recipe with you. Add noodles for chicken noodle soup of course.

1 whole chicken (excluding the guts but including the skin)
6 cups of water (approximately)

1 dash of salt (leaves the soup low sodium or to be salted by individuals to their liking)

1 Onion, roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 green onions

Chop the onion and 3 celery stalks
Remove giblets (guts) from the chicken (usually in a bag for easy removal)
Put chicken in large pot, put on low and brown it a bit to bring out the flavor
Fill pot with water until chicken is just covered

Add a dash of salt
Bring water to a boil

After water comes to a rolling boil (large bubbles)  reduce to a simmer (low flame)
Cook on low for 2 hours or until the broth has a nice golden color and smells like the soup is ready to eat

You can now serve up bowls of the soup to those who are healthy. For the sick person, allow the soup to cool, and strain out fat and ingredients. What remains is "stock" or broth. Which is useful in other recipes such as chicken gravy. (see below)

1 cup Chicken, Beef or Turkey Stock (I used Chicken, as that is what we had on hand)
1 dash of sea salt
3 tablespoons flour (I use whole wheat flour but I suspect any flour will work)
1/2 cup water

Put Chicken Stock in water
Add 1 dash of sea salt
Bring Chicken Stock to a boil
Add 3 tablespoons flour to 1/2 cup of water
Stir with a small whisk (the small whisk works best in a small container and allows for less lumps)
When Chicken Stock is at a rolling boil (large bubbles which rise to the surface and pop quickly)
SLOWLY add the 1/2 cup of water which you previously added flour to and whisked until smooth
Allow to return to a boil then turn the stove down to low
Allow the gravy to simmer, stirring gently until slightly thickened until just slightly more runny than you would normally want gravy

As it cools, gravy will thicken on it's own
If it becomes too thick, you can add a bit of water
Be sure to add the smooth flour and water mixture slowly to the boiling broth as this avoids lumps as well
If there is a thicker bit at the bottom, stop before pouring that in or lumps may form
You may want to add another dash of salt and a dash of pepper if you are not on a bland diet like I am

Because my currently restricted diet is so bland, it becomes very boring and I am tempted to try other foods too soon, which causes my stomach to cramp and is very unpleasant. So instead, I am learning to stick within the bland diet but be creative within it (no meat, dairy, nuts, beans, or veggies) only soft breads (not 12 grain) and very little fruit (mild juice, apple sauce and jello) is allowed.  Making broth into gravy to put on potatoes is one way to do this. I may share other ideas in the future.

To shake things up a bit, we discovered that fresh and easy has unsweetened apricot applesauce and berry applesauce, both of which are pretty good actually, and help to mix up what I've been eating while still being within parameters. The broth is good with saltines or your favorite dipping bread when you have a cold, stomach bug, or just on a rainy day. The gravy is good on just about anything. As Patch says, "Gravy is a beverage!"

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