In August I started a health experiment. My family tree has a few food allergies and intolerances, and I’ve lived with certain symptoms for a few years that I thought were related to other things, but never really thought I might have inherited any of those food issues. But this summer I reached a point where I could no longer ignore the possibility. I’ve been tested for allergies and already knew that wasn’t an issue, but a food intolerance can be sneaky. It can mask itself as other things, many other things, making it difficult to pinpoint a source for symptoms.
So at the beginning of August I went off sugar and gluten; well, anything with flour of any kind. Cold turkey, just cut it all out. The first day wasn’t too bad, though my sweet tooth kept talking to me. By the third day I thought I would die without a bowl of granola for breakfast and some chocolate to snack on, but I stuck to my plan in spite of how grumpy I felt. I kept track of my symptoms, and by the end of two weeks I was feeling much better. After three weeks, my stomach issues had cleared up, my daily headaches were gone, I no longer felt tired all the time, and I had my old happy self back.
As for what I ate, it wasn’t anything special. I made my daily smoothies (either green or fruit) ate chicken and fish, vegetables and herbs from the garden, beans, fruit, rice, quinoa, avocadoes, nuts; all my usual foods, just no flours or sugar. I alternated vegetarian and vegan meals with occasional meat to keep it interesting, which I usually do anyway.
What I did not do: I didn’t run any marathons or go out of my way to change my exercise routine. I walked or did yoga in the mornings for 30 minutes to an hour as often as I was able, or worked in the garden and did housework.
At the end of the first three weeks I had lost 10 of the pounds I had gained during cancer treatment, and the rest has come off this month. I’ve been doing my happy dance every day putting on on clothes that stopped fitting when I had to do all those cancer drugs. That in itself is fantastic, but there’s more. My body is resetting itself. I’m not getting the stress cravings that used to come when I was on a deadline or had a tough day. I don’t feel that need to sit down with a bowl of ice cream or a bag of gummy bears and drown my stress in sugar, or grab pieces of bread for a snack when I’ve missed a meal because I didn't have time to stop.
You can say this has been a month for celebration!
So what does all that have to do with roasted chicken stock?
For me, it’s about paying attention. Michael will tell you I’m knowledgeable and careful about what I feed my family because it has always been important to me, so I’m not talking about about reading labels. I’m talking about how food makes me feel and what it does to my body. The only way I could have learned I have gluten intolerance and don’t do well with sugar was to eliminate them, and then see what happened if I let any of it creep back into my life. I feel fantastic when I don’t have all the flours and sugar in my diet. I feel the opposite when I let even a little of those things back in, and my body lets me know it in several unpleasant ways.
So I pay even more attention than before. Yes, I can buy gluten-free chicken stock that has very low sodium, and I keep some on hand (Pacific Foods Organic Simply Stock – Chicken Unsalted), but I also like the process of choosing the chicken and each carrot, onion, and stalk of celery that goes in the pan. l adore the smell of it all roasting in the oven and simmering on the stove. And the flavor roasted chicken stock adds to my soups and stews? Can’t touch it with anything from the store.
So, yes, there have been a few changes at Casa Meyers; changes that are making life better for me and my family.
I modified the ingredients to fit with I keep on hand in the kitchen: omitted fennel and used extra celery and onions.
I freeze this stock in quart containers and use it in soups and stews. Frozen stock will keep for several months.
Roasted Chicken Stock
- large roasting pan
- 8 quart stock pot with lid
- fine mesh sieve
- large bowl
- 3 carrots (cut into 2-inch-thick pieces)
- 3 celery stalks (cut into 2-inch-thick pieces)
- 2 medium onions (peeled and quartered)
- 3 pounds whole chicken (cut into pieces)
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- 6 parsley sprigs
- 5 thyme sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 quarts cold water (divided)
- Preheat oven to 400° F/200° C.
- Arrange the carrots, celery, and onion in the bottom of a broiler or roasting pan, and top with chicken pieces. Bake in the preheated oven for 1-½ hours, turning the chicken once every 30 minutes. The chicken will be crispy and brown.
- Transfer the vegetables and chicken from broiler pan to the stockpot, and add the peppercorns, parsley, thyme, and bay leaves. Carefully discard the drippings from broiler pan, leaving browned bits (fond). Place the broiler pan on a stovetop and add 1 quart/liter of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, scraping the bottom to loosen the browned bits.
- Pour the contents of broiler pan into the stockpot. Add the remaining 3 quarts/liters of water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer for 1-½ hours. Strain the stock through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Reserve the chicken meat for another use, and discard the remaining solids. Cover and chill the stock for 8 hours. Skim the solidified fat from surface of broth, and discard.
Recipes that Work Well with Roasted Chicken Stock
More Recipes for Stock From Other Blogs
- Simply Recipes – How to Make Beef Stock
- Everyday Maven – How to Make Shrimp Stock
- Food52 – How to Make Parmesan Broth + 6 Ways to Use It
- Oh My Veggies – How to Make Vegetable Broth (with kitchen scraps!)
[Disclosure: I am a member of the Cooking Light Bloggers' Connection.]
Umm Haneefah @The Halal Gourmet says
Andrea, so great that you are taking action at the heart of your health. Bone broth is a great place to start. Your bones look great. I usually do white chicken stocks but I have to get a roasted one going. Thanks for the beautiful reminder!
I too am passionate about stockmaking; you should stop my blog in the Stocks & Bones section.
Congratulations and all the best with your cancer fight.
Thank you, Umm. I make both clear and dark chicken stocks. The flavors are unique and work well with different dishes.
I'm always amazed at what a food elimination test can do - so happy for you that cutting out gluten and sugar made such a positive impact! (I'm also gluten-free but you've given me reason to try cutting out sugar.) I'm going to have to save this stock recipe - I make mine light, without roasting, but have some meaty soups for fall that would do well against a richer broth.
Thanks Lisa. I was very surprised at the results of my food elimination test. The hardest part was sugar because I have such a sweet tooth, but it's been worth it. And every time I have a craving, I just remind myself of how terrible it will make me feel if I indulge.
Making your own stock is always the best way to go. But just as food for thought and being constructive i was looking at the picture and the recipe details and saw that you put the whole chicken in (however i might be wrong) wich in itself isn't dramatic but it is kind of a waste. First putting whole piece of chicken, specially breasts, will tend to make more floating particules in your stock and isn't worth not saving them for other recipes since it really is the bones and it's marrow that will bring the meaty flavor you want to bring forth. Also leaving the skin on will make it extra extra fat and extra work in the end. You will save your meat and make it healthier this way! Keep up the great blogging!