One day I found myself crying at the grocery store. There I was in front of the liquid stock looking for a base to make some soup in a pinch. It was a cold and rainy Saturday and Stuart and the boys were in the mood for Cauliflower Soup and Tuna Melts for lunch, I know it’s the weirdest combination of food, but they love it. I didn’t have any homemade stock to serve as the base of the soup on hand so I ran up to the shops to grab some chicken stock. Not a problem. Only one small thing, Stuart suffers from migraines and one of his triggers, like a lot of people, is MSG. I just needed to get some stock that was free from preservatives, MSG, yeast extract and flavour enhancer. Simple.
Why yeast extract, also known as flavour enhancer, hydrolysed vegetable protein, and soy extract you ask? Well they are just MSG by another name. Cue label reading. I had about 10 stocks to work through so I started with the most well known brands. Campbells, yeast extract. Massell, Continental, Woolworths yeast extract, yeast extract, yeast extract. Ok, lets try this organic brand Australia’s Own, organic yeast extract. Seriously, organic yeast extract. I knew from experience that all the powered stocks contained yeast extract so there was no point in looking. And that’s when the tears came.
It simply wasn’t fair. Why did everything have to be so…hard.
Right there in the stock aisle I came to the realization that I would have to make everything that goes into my family’s mouth from scratch. Even chicken stock and that takes hours of cooking for 8 tiny cups. One pot of soup for my family of 5. There would be no more cheating on recipes with store bought anything. That amount of work was simply overwhelming and the big, fat tears proved it.
Avoiding dietary triggers for migraines is a huge amount of work for those who suffer from migraines and those that care about people who suffer. Over the past decade I have learned so much about reducing migraine frequency and severity through diet and cooking food that’s headache free, that it’s time for me to share my journey with world. Simply, I want to do my best to make the world safer for migraine suffers one dish at a time. I’m so glad that you’ve decided to join me.
So let’s start at the beginning with the Easiest Chicken Stock Ever.
Easiest Chicken Stock Ever
This is really simple and makes the best poached chicken and stock I’ve ever had. You’ll need about 30 minutes to get it cooking, then you take it off the heat and let it seep for 4 hours. Seriously you walk away from it. After 4 hours you’ll have a perfectly poached chicken and about 8 cups of preservative, MSG and yeast extract free chicken stock ready to use or freeze for later.
- 1 free to roam chicken. You could go organic, but I’m happy with free to roam. You’re going to eat the meat so be sure it’s a chicken you would want to eat.
- 1 bag of veggie off cuts. Collect up your onion, carrot and any other veggie trimmings over the week. I like to use the brown skin of onions as it gives the broth a deeper colour. Definitely no celery as it will dump nitrates into the stock. Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, anything from the genus Brassica, will impart a bitter taste.
- 2 bay leaves
- Handful of fresh parsley if you have it
- Big pinch of salt
- Good grind of pepper
- A big pot with a snug fitting lid
- Rinse the chicken and put into the pot.
- Throw in veggies, bay leaves, parsley, salt and pepper.
- Fill pot with cold water until 1-2 inches above chicken and veggies. Don’t try and cheat here with hot water. It’s important that everything heat up together.
- Put on high heat and bring to a boil.
- As scum forms on the top, use a large spoon to scrape it off.
- Boil for 4 minutes. Yes that’s right, only 4 minutes.
- Turn off heat, remove scum and put on lid.
Walk away and come back in 4 hours.
Take chicken out of the pot using tongs as the stock is still hot. You are now in possession of the most perfectly poached chicken that can be used for anything from soups, salads, casseroles and a favorite for us – quesadillas.
Now you might want to concentrate your stock by putting it back on the boil for about 30 minutes or maybe you just can’t be bothered. After you make your decision strain the stock into a jug. Then filter the stock through some cheesecloth or muslin to remove small solids.
Stock can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 days or frozen until needed. I like to keep 2 cups in the fridge to flavour rice, grains and curries and freeze the rest in 2, 3 and 4 cup portions.
So my friends, have you ever cried in the grocery store?