If I’m going to the effort of having the stove going for a day or two with one pot, let’s make it three pots and get all the things cooked at once! And let’s make it a multitasking food as well – food for bubs and for the adults – which gets out the nuggets of goodness of all of the ingredients.
So, bone broth baby food for bubs and soup for the big kids. All at once. Yum yum yum.
If you’re not a bone broth convert, you should be. Why?
We are marketed baby rice, packet stuff, cute little mini things in boxes with bright colours… have you ever taken the opportunity to read the labels and see just how much sugar is in these things? Most snacks are 40% sugar! No wonder wee one asks for more. The majority of the packet food has a tomato based gravy, which is fine in and of itself, but all the time? A smidge acidic for little tummies.
Bone broth is nutrient dense, full of the right salts and fats for rapidly growing body, and nourishing for little tummies. The recipe I have here uses a pumpkin or sweet potato gravy, which is gentle on tummies and a little sweet. Always a winner.
And for you, mummy, who grew a tiny person, you will do well to get the bone minerals in the broth to replenish your mineral stores.
You can read more on the wonders of bone broth here.
So many tiny things, so many tiny wrappers… all in the bin. I always have some kind of plastic wrapped goodie in my handbag for Essie (it’s at my own peril if I forget!), but I do try to reduce the waste her food produces.
We purchased some most excellent freezer pods from Weanmeister, and they have been outstanding. As have the silicone bibs – right into the dishwasher when dirty! But you can use silicone muffin trays, turing out the goodies into cling film once frozen to regain the use of your tray. I know, there’s still plastic used there but it is sooooo much less.
We love a curry, a stir fry, loads of garlic… mmmmmm. We want to make sure that Essie has been introduced to these flavours early on so there is less of a revolt. I can hope, right! A dash of curry here, garlic there, the vegies we enjoy… warming up to the adult versions of those meals and noticing how she reacts is great.
We’ve also been surprised by which vegies she picks herself. Cauliflower and chickpeas are always the first ones to be eaten, much to my surprise!
What better way to make use of a glut of vegies than to make a big batch of baby food and soup, then freeze for later? At the height of their nutrition and flavour and lowest in costs, maybe even free from a garden near you, seasonal veg can’t be beat.
We should eat far less meat than we do, and when we eat an animal we should eat far more of that animal than we do. Using a whole chicken or its carcass in this broth gets all the gelatine, collagen, bone minerals and other goodies out of the carcass in to you. Mr Google tells me that from a 1.6kg chicken you can expect to get 800 grams of lean meat and 170 grams of skin. From my 1.7kg bird I had left over 500 grams of bits and pieces, including some water weight and some leek because I was a bit slap dash with pulling out the remains. That’s an improvement of 130 grams of edible stuff which has gone into the cooking. It also made a hullvalot more meals – that 1.5kg chicken should provide a meaty meal for four or five people. We got at least seven big serves of soup, plus 27 frozen pods of baby food, plus 18 frozen pods of broth for later. And some of the meat was used for a curry rather than in the meals… so another two meals at least. Chickie’s life got spread so much further.
While I’ve set this out for a baby food and soup cooking, you could just do the soup and make a mega batch of soup and/or broth for freezing.
- one massive saucepan for the bone broth. You need to at least be able to fit your chicken in it with some boiling room.
- two large saucepans: one the for soup and one for the baby food.
For the broth:
- an organic free range chicken. You’re getting all the goodness out, so it makes sense to get a chicken which has a decent amount of goodness in it in the first place.
- 2 leek
- a few stalks of celery, roughly chopped
- two carrots, roughly chopped
- a tablespoon of green peppercorns
- a few bay leaves
- a sprinkle of mustard or fenugreek seeds. Trust me!
- two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
For the baby food:
- at least 1/2 a pumpkin or a sweet potato for the gravy
- seasonal veg: I used end of two summer zucchini, three carrots, a parsnip, half a cauliflower, a handful of chopped green beans, an onion, a swede, and a few small potatoes.
- any other bits and pieces. I used chickpeas and lentils, I also add a few handfuls of kale or spinach if it’s available. A few herbs never go astray!
For the soup:
- seasonal veg. Used much the same as for the baby food, but left out the chickpeas and lentils.
- I love to add some seaweed flakes and shiitake mushrooms for additional flavour.
Day one, or early in the morning…
Add all ingredients except vinegar to your biggest pot, and cover with water. Bring gently to simmer, and cook for about an hour, hour and a half. You want the meat to be cooked through. Check by pulling the drumstick away from the body – it should be brown at the bones, not pink. If you do find that it is not cooked, just pop it back on to simmer.
When cooked, remove the pot from the heat and take the chicken from the water (use two pair of tongs) and pick the carcass of meat. Put all the meat into a container for later – to add to you soup or baby food, or a curry or salad. Choose whether you’ll keep the skin, and either put it back into the pot or discard. I keep about half for flavour.
Add the vinegar to the pot, and let sit for at least an hour. This allows the acid of the vinegar to act on the bones and start drawing the minerals out into the water.
Simmer very gently for six to eight hours, even longer if you have the chance.
Day two, or late in the day…
Not very pretty… But this is the goods!
Add some more water, and keep simmering away as you’l just get more and more of the good stuff out as you boil.
First, baby food.
Roughly skin and chop your pumpkin, and add it to another of your large saucepans. Pop a strainer over the top, and ladle in a few ladle-fulls of broth. The strainer will keep the skin and gunge from your cooking. Put a lid on your pot and cook the pumpkin until tender. Remove from heat, and purée. Add as much chicken meat as you like to the purée, I find that bigger pieces get removed from the mouth as being difficult to chew – at least puréed it gets eaten! Add more broth as needed to make a thinner gravy. Set aside in a bowl in the fridge.
Have the rest of your veg in small bite sized pieces, chopped and ready to go. Par boil potatoes separately in water (otherwise they’ll make the gravy a bit weird), then add to the baby food pot with the onion, carrot, chickpeas and lentils. Keep adding more broth as cooking water as needed. Keep adding water back into the broth pot to replenish.
Cook until carrot is bright orange, then add swede and parsnip. When those have softened, add green beans and cauliflower. Be very careful not to overcook these two – overcooking releases their sulphur compounds and makes them less sweet and more bitter. You can add a little lemon juice if you’ve got too excited, but slightly undercooked is best as you’ll end up reheating this meal anyway.
Add the pumpkin gravy back into the baby food pot, and add your flavours. I find a teaspoon or two of a Rogan Josh curry paste is excellent.
Purée if bubs is a bit little for lumps. Freeze in bite sized portions.
Second meal: the soup
Again, have all your veg chopped and ready to go. Ideally, have the same ingredients as the baby food so you can just have one massive chopping session and be done with it!
Add vegies in the same order as the baby food, adding broth as cooking water as needed. Add some celery leaves for extra flavour. Replenish the broth pot with further water.
Add as much chicken meat as desired. Shred the meat by chopping it into chunks first, then pulling apart with two forks. This will make fine shreds.
When nearly done, thin with more broth and add the seaweed and mushrooms if using.
You’ll have a decent amount of broth left at the end. Freeze in small portions ready to add to risottos, soups, or to have on it’s own. It’s really delicious!
You’ve just made so many meals in one hit! Lovely to have so much yum and so much nutrition.