In last months recipe for Chicken Chowder, I mentioned that you could make your own stock. This post is going to tell you just how and why you might want to do that.
It is possible to just buy stock cubes in the supermarket though its difficult to find any that don’t contain added sugar. Why stock cubes need to have sugar added to them is another story!? Despite the added sugar, the amount of carbs per 100ml is generally very low and making your own soups etc with shop bought stock is obviously much preferable to buying ready made soups.
However, when I tried making stock recently and realised just how easy it is and when I read about the amazing health benefits of homemade stock, I thought it well worth the effort. It is fantastic for people with arthritis, skin issues, problems with bones, inflammation in the gut and more. See more on the benefits of homemade stock and bone broth here. Bone broth is similar to stock except that it is usually simmered for 24 hours whereas it takes about 4 hours for stock.
Drinking two 225ml cups of homemade stock/broth is also highly recommended when beginning Atkins as it can help eliminate or minimise any “Atkins flu” symptoms as they are known – this might include weakness, muscle aches or headaches. The reason this happens is that when you begin the Atkins diet you lose water but along with it you can lose sodium and other minerals. Homemade stocks will keep your electrolytes balanced and are rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium and other minerals. It is much more nutritious than any stock you will buy, contains more protein and more flavorful. (If making broth is not an option for you, Bovril is a good alternative in order to avoid any symptoms – see more in the top tips section for the Induction Phase)
You can use bones left over from a roast e.g. chicken carcass, bones from roast beef or lamb. You can also ask your butcher for bones – joints such as knee joints are particularly good for the gut healing properties. They will often give you these for a nominal amount or even for free. Using a mix of raw and cooked bones is not a problem.
The following recipe for Chicken stock is a variation on one from the New Atkins New Book (which also has great recipes for sauces, salad dressings and marinades). This version uses the carcass and bones from one or more cooked chickens rather than a whole chicken which is more economical and still very nutritious.
- carcass and bones from 1-2 chickens
- any accompanying chicken giblets, except the liver
- 2 celery sticks with leaves
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp salt
- 10 black peppercorns
- 4 liters of water (approx)
- half a leek (optional)
- 2 bay leaves (optional)
- 5 thyme sprigs (optional)
Carbs: 1g approx per serving
Phase: Suitable for all phases
Combine all the ingredients except the water in a large pot over a medium heat. Break the chicken into smallish pieces. Add enough water to cover everything – the amount of water you use will vary depending on how much chicken you have. Bring just to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Add enough water to return to original level and simmer for 2 – 4 hours longer. Restore water level again, bring to the boil and remove from the heat. After it has cooled slightly, strain and discard all solids. Chill in the refrigerator for a day to allow the flavors to develop. Refrigerate for 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
It can be used to make gravies, sauces, stews and soups. Just freeze it in portions so you can take what you need each time.
Prepare according to the directions above using raw and/or cooked beef bones.