Inspired by our travels to England, this Caramelized Onion Jam is the ultimate condiment. Great on burgers or with a cheese board, on your trendy avocado toast or just with veggies.
Part of what I enjoy so much about traveling, is experiencing new and different foods. I love sampling local fare and being inspired by new and unique ways to bring flavors together. On our trip to England this fall, as you can imagine there was a lot of room to be inspired. I was particularly impressed by our time in England, the level of culinary experimentation and creativity, as compared to my trip there 15 years ago.
Having a for-real winter here in Southern California has been especially exciting for many reasons. For the first time since we moved out here from the East Coast 4 years ago, I have been able to really get down with cozy, comforting winter food. Soups, stews, roasts and all the best wintery, soul-warming foods.
Soups have been especially exciting to me this year. This one in particular, this Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Vegetable Soup, has become one of my personal favorites. Reminiscent of a pot-pie filling, with a bit more broth, it’s creamy and rich, without dairy or grains. Best part, it can be made in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker and it’s ready in about 30 minutes, start to finish, but it tastes like it’s simmered away all day. If you want to use already cooked, shredded rotisserie chicken, this soup is ready even quicker. It pressure cooks for just 6 minutes!!
What is Bone Broth:
Bone broth truly is one of the greatest superfoods. A soul-warming, healing, mineral-rich infusion found in many traditional households across many diverse cultures, bone broth is rich in amino acids and minerals and it’s healing properties run the gamut. This nutrient-dense, inexpensive magic elixir provides minerals in a highly bio-available form, meaning that the body can absorb easily them. Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. As the cartilage and tendons breaks down, you’ll also receive chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, both sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain. The long cook time of bone broth allows the maximum release of nutrients. Bone broth contains collagen and gelatin, providing great healing value to cartilage and bones but also to the skin, digestive tract, immune system, heart and muscles.
Bone broth is a liquid made by simmering bones for an extended period of time, between 4 and 24 hours. Any bones can be used: chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, pork, bison and even fish. Vegetables, herbs and spices are often added to enhance the flavor and the bones and vegetables are strained and discarded before serving. Typically, the bones will have some connective tissue, like joints and tendons, and some meat attached.
Additionally bone broth and stocks is a wonderful way of letting nothing go to waste. The nose-to-tail concept of sustainability.
You’ve probably heard the terms Bone Broth, Broth and Stock all used fairly interchangeably, but there are actually some differences between them. Each is made using meat and/or bones, cold water, vegetables and spices / seasonings. Cooking remains similar but the time of simmering varies between them. Bone broth is different from traditional stocks and broths in that it typically is made just from the bones and whatever small amounts of meat are adhering to those bones. Bone broth is simmered for a very long period of time, upwards of 48 hours. Stock is made generally with bones and a small amount of meat and is simmered for much less time, just several hours, 3-4. Meat broth is generally made mostly with meat and sometimes a small amount of bones, simmering for usually under 2 hours. Meat broth and stock still have great health benefits, however it’s a lower nutrient content then long simmering bone broth. For some, bone broth vs stock also means the presence of meat and veggies vs. just bones. Bone broth usually does not contain these and stock usually does. That said, those clear definitions have definitely blurred as bone broth has become more prevalent and people find their own ways of making it, so don’t get too hung up on the words.
This week’s Tutorial Tuesday post is a simple one, it’s hard to even call it a recipe. It requires very little work and it’s really hard to mess it up. You can make easily create your own signature vegetable stock with whatever your favorite ingredients are.
I find most store bought vegetable stocks to be lacking. They always taste flat and they all have this strange aftertaste, to me. I have never found one that I love. Most leave me wanting for more. I started making my own homemade vegetable stock a long time ago and it’s one of the easiest things you can make yourself at home. You can control the ingredients, the level of salt, the spices and it’s also a great way to use of vegetable scraps.
In the event you didn’t know, (I didn’t learn this until quite recently) there is a difference between a stock and a broth and that difference is usually just salt. Broth has salt added, stock does not. See, you learn something new every day. Actually, I think it is more than just the salt that makes them different, I believe that it’s seasoning in general, spices, salt, wine, etc. Essentially you are looking for a stock to be somewhat neutral in flavor, almost to where when you taste it, it’s missing a little something. Instead it’s about letting the dish the stock ultimately goes into dictate the spices and the levels of salt. Either way, I prefer to make a vegetable stock over a broth, so I can control the saltiness with each recipe I use it in. I do, however, still add simple, yet somewhat neutral spices, that will work with virtually any recipe my stock would go into.
I am super excited to share with you guys this amazing summery, chilled soup recipe, aka one of my most favorite ways, currently, to enjoy the flavors of the season. The whole idea for this Grilled Summer Veggie Gazpacho was inspired by one of my new favorite kitchen staples, vegan stocks and broths from Massel.
Earlier this year while at the Expo West Natural Products Convention, I had the pleasure of not only meeting the amazing Blender Girl, Tess Masters, who has quickly become one of my favorite people, but in meeting her I was also introduced to Massel, an amazing brand, new to America, hailing from her home country of Australia. Massel makes high-quality easy-to-use bouillons, stock cubes, seasoning granules and Concentrated Liquid Stock. All of their incredible all-natural products are gluten-free and vegan, so they can essentially be enjoyed by all, regardless of dietary restrictions. Massel never adds MSG and all of their ingredients are non-GMO. Besides all of that, the best part about their bouillons are how they taste just like homemade stocks.
Though I am not strictly vegan or vegetarian myself, I do try to limit the amount of meat I consume. If I cannot get high-quality meat from our local farmer or at the farmers market, I much prefer to eat vegetarian. When it comes to homemade stocks and soups, I generally tend to use leftover bones from our grass-fed meat and/or whatever veggies I have on hand, to make a stock every other week or so. But this just isn’t always a possibility, sometimes I need quick and easy, but I still want healthy and real.