Chef Nige: Plant Medicine Veggie Stock

Wow, ok! I sure am ready for this New Year, how about y’all?? Ready to start a new year, ready to leave all the useless baggage and stale energy that weighs ya' down? YES! ME TOO. I’ve had my fill of this past year and am excited for a new beginning, a new perspective, and a new day to shed the things that do not serve me anymore. It always feels good to use the start of the calendar year as an excuse to purge unnecessary habits, any less-than-awesome stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, any excess of the holidays that has manifested itself mentally or physically. It’s time to start fresh, hit the reset button, and sometimes the best way to do this is to go back to basics, to check in and better see what really makes us happy and thrive. Sometimes we need to clear all of the gunk out to really see what works for us. I love simple whole grains or even a truckload of fresh-juiced fruits and veggies but another handy tool, especially during the winter months, is a good solid broth to easily help cleanse and build the body back up. For this month’s recipe, I am sharing a medicinal veggie stock that is simple in its ingredients and technique, yet hearty and highly nutrient dense. Let us use healing plants to build up our roots and turn over a new leaf this year… Plant Medicine Veggie Stock Before you start- Don’t stress on how you chop the veggies here, you will just want to break them down a bit to help extract the flavor and nutrients. You will be discarding the actual vegetables in this recipe, as it is intended to be a nutrient rich broth, and you are extracting all those goodies inside. No need to peel carrots! Just wash em! Feel free to add in washed onion and garlic skins/peels, as you will be straining! Little Tip- -Once your stock is done, spoon some into a bowl with some fresh hot chilies and green onion slices with a couple dashes of apple cider vinegar for an immunity blast! Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil (safflower/sunflower oil are good alternatives also) 2 good sized chopped red onions-rough chopped 3 cups rough chopped celery 3 cups rough chopped carrots 10-14 garlic cloves (smashed in half) 8 or so fresh mushrooms of choice- (fresh shitake, white, crimini, portabella all good ones)-chopped in half or rough chopped A small handful of fresh thyme A small handful of flat leaf parsley 2 tablespoons dried Astragalus root 2 tablespoons dried nettle 1 teaspoon black pepper 2 teaspoons sea salt 3 quarts (12 cups) water Method: Grab a large pot and place onto burner. Have a lid for your pot and high heat spatula or wooden spoon handy. Wash and chop all your veggies-set aside. Turn burner to medium/medium-high, add your oil, and give it a minute or two to heat up. (*Test the oil to make sure its nice and warmed up by adding a piece of onion and listening for the light sizzle.) When oil is ready, add your veggies to the pot. Allow them to sizzle in the pot, moving around a little with your utensil. (1 minute or so) Add in the fresh thyme and parsley, nettle, astragalus, black pepper and sea salt, and mix veggies around to coat in the seasoning (1 minute or so). Pour in your water, cover with pot lid, and allow your stock to come to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer covered for one to two hours. Once simmered to your liking, turn heat off and allow stock to cool enough to handle easily. Grab a fine colander/mesh strainer and place it into a large pot or large bowl. Pour your stock into the strainer, press the veggie pile with your utensil or hands to really get all that yummy liquid out of there. Lift the colander out, compost or eat the veggies! Now you have your stock! If you’re not consuming right away, allow to cool completely before packaging into containers. Keeps in fridge for up to 10 days. Keeps well in freezer for 3 months. (Safe to eat after 3 months but may you may get a freezer burn situation on your hands) Some notes: *Feel free to taste as your go! Keep in mind, this is a basic stock, which will be used on its own for easy nutrients, or as the base liquid for any other soups/stews you want to make. This means, it doesn’t have to be necessarily bursting with tremendous flavor. However, feel free to add more salt or pepper or garlic or veggies if you wish for more concentrated flavor. *Store in freezer in ice cube trays for easy pop out to add to soups/chilies/sauces! *In addition to virus and bacteria fighting garlic and onion, antioxidant rich mushrooms, and Vitamin A rich carrots, thyme and parsley are common kitchen ingredients that can help build up immunity and also aid in active phase of illness. Thyme is a great defender against bacterial infections as well as being an ally for the entire respiratory tract, helping to heal the tract and help loosen phlegm. Parsley is a great blood purifier and builder, and very rich in vitamins A, C, and K. Nettle – what CAN’T I say about nettle? It is safe for most everyone including children and people who are pregnant, similar to spinach in flavor and highly nutrient dense. It is also a blood builder, helps bones retain calcium, a kidney toner, high in minerals and vitamins especially Vitamin K. It is known to be safe for immunity build up and to be taken over time for chronic conditions. Astragalus- Astragalus helps the body build up its defenses against foreign invaders. It is extremely rich in antioxidants. This makes it most useful to ward of illness before it begins, rather than while you are already ill, or to build back up after a period of illness or stress. It has been a staple in Traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. So that’s it for now folks, be kind to yourself, know your worth and I hope you all have a wonderful healthy January! Oh yeah, and smell ya later for good 2016!! Much love, Nige

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