Monday, October 31, 2011

Benefits of Homemade Broth - and a Lemon Chicken Soup Recipe

For the last week I have been slowly introducing myself to the GAPS diet.  GAPS stands for the Gut and Psychology Syndrome, a book by Natasha Campbell-McBride M.D. The book focuses on the link to gut health and your overall mental and physical health. The diet is said to help heal damaged digestive systems, which in turn can also substantially help many conditions, such as Autism, Dyslexia, Depression, Dyspraxia, ADD, ADHD, Schizophrenia, and any other condition that has a link to gut dysbiosis. I am suffering from this imbalance, which I believe caused systemic candida and a host of other symptoms.

The diet recommends you use the bones from chickens, beef etc. to make nutrient dense broths that help your immune system. You know, the way your grandmother made soup before all of these MSG laden and artificially flavored broths were so common in supermarkets? And trust me, it tastes so good.

Bone broth is nutrient-dense in calcium, magnesium and other trace minerals. In addition, gelatin and collagen that break down from the cartilage in joints and insides of bones are thought to help arthritis, joint pain, and are good for hair, skin and nails. Did you know that collagen makes up about 25% of proteins in the body?

The broth is quite versatile, as you can save and freeze leftovers to use for gravies and sauces. I like to let mine cool and remove the fatty layer to use for cooking and frying, and freeze the remaining broth for future dinners. This is a very economical way of cooking, it tastes better, and is healthier than store-bought versions.

So tonight I am taking a rotisserie chicken I made Thursday and using the remainder to make broth for Avgolemono soup - a Greek-style lemony-egg soup that is one of my favorite comfort foods. First, take off the meat from your cooked chicken and set aside in a bowl.  Take any of the bones (chicken legs, wings etc.), chicken skin if you like, and the rest of the carcass and cover with water or more broth. If you are able to, use kitchen shears to cut the bones open so that they have exposure to leach the marrow into the water. Cook on medium-high until it boils, then simmer on low for about 2 hours or longer if you can.  The longer you cook, the more the bones will break down and release nutrients into the broth. Then, strain the chicken broth from the bones, and remove any remainders of chicken meat. Add the strained broth back into the pot and add in the meat, onions, celery, carrot and other veggies and herbs you like. Traditional Avgolemono adds in rice or orzo, but I am adding in some gluten free ditalini noodles at this step instead. Simmer for another 20-30 minutes or longer.

When done, take the juice of lemon (1/4 to 1/2 cup, to your liking), and 2 eggs, whisk together. Then slowly pour the egg/lemon mixture into the soup base while whisking into the soup, and cook for a few minutes until it thickens a bit.  Serve into bowls or mugs, sprinkle with parsley, and enjoy.

Store leftovers in the fridge for several days or freeze. I hope you love this soup as much as I do.

Tip:  Another good way to make this is to cook a whole chicken on low in a crock pot for a day while at work or out running errands, then come home and prepare the rest. This way you get the ultimate benefits of nutrients like marrow, cartilage and gelatin that have broken down during this long simmer.


  1. Hi, I make a lot of chicken soups, but never thought to add lemon. Sounds like a tasty addition! I'm hosting a weekly blog carnival specifically for soups, stocks and chowders, every Sunday. I would love it if you would come over and post this recipe. Here's a link with more info.
    I hope to see you there!

  2. Hi Debbie,

    I would love to post this recipe on your site! I read your "about me" section: I am really interested in reading nourishing traditions as I hear many talk about it in the food blogging circle. I am a big believer in the research of Weston A. Price as well. Kudos to your site and healthy natural eating!

  3. Thanks! Nourishing Traditions will give you some great ideas and information. I found it quite inspiring, and still refer to it regularly.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe with Sunday Night Soup Night. I'll be hosting weekly through fall and winter, so I'd love to see you again with your next soup/stock/chowder recipe!

  5. You got it! I'm sure I'll be making another soup soon. Love your site!