Bird and Belle's Adventures in Marriage

Meat Jello

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Beans beans they’re good for the heart,
The more you eat the more you fart,
The more you fart the better you feel,
So eat your beans AT EVERY MEAL!

I remember singing this with my Dad and feeling like SUCH a rebel. Why? Because FART was one of the naughtiest words I knew but if Daddy was singing them with me it was both ok and hilarious.

Nearly 30 years later I still hum this little ditty while cooking beans and it always makes me smile. The difference between then and now, aside from the expansion of my naughty word vocabulary, is that I like beans. Actually, I love beans.

I could fill this entire post about the wonderful world of legumes, their nutritional benefits and the varying flavors between varieties, but I’m pretty sure our small readership would plummet.

Over the years I have become proficient at taking a bag of dry beans and turning it into a dish that even the most diehard carnivore would enjoy. It seemed logical when we started cooking chicken to apply many of the same beany principles.

For example, the broth left after cooking garbanzo beans (or chickpeas if you prefer) is a culinary delicacy. I use this garbanzo bean broth in soups and sauces and even blend it in my hummus as a way to reduce the fat without sacrificing flavor.

When Bird went to whip up a giant Crockpot of chicken stock I figured the end liquid would be similar to that of garbanzo bean broth.

Note: Bird has pointed out that while this is a syllogism, it is not “true.” It is, however, how my thought process went, which is often quite incorrect, therefore it is “true enough” to go on our Adventures of Marriage blog.

Last weekend Bird plopped the chicken carcass in the Crockpot with water, veggie scraps and fresh herbs from the garden and let it do its thing for the day.

The broth hung out in the fridge for several days until we had time to make our first chicken soup. While Bird prepared the butternut squash and onions, I pulled out the big container of broth.

“Um, let me do that…” Bird said.

“I can do it. It’s just broth and cooked chicken. I think I can handle it.”

And then I opened the lid and holy crap, what the hell was this gelatinous muck?

“Something is wrong!” I yelped. “Look at all this disgusting fat! Wait, this is not fat. What on earth is it?”

“RELAX,” Bird said. “It’s just gelatin from the bones. It will liquefy again when we heat it up.”

Cue dry heaves.

“I don’t believe you. Broth does not look like this when cold. BEAN BROTH DOES NOT LOOK LIKE THIS WHEN COLD!”

I grabbed a lone can of chicken broth and I shoved it in his ear and shook.

“See! Liquid! Something is totally wrong. This meat Jello cannot be good for us.”

Bird told me to relax and retreat while he dealt with the  muck broth.

Google search: WHY DOES MY CHICKEN BROTH LOOK LIKE BROWN JELLO

What popped up shocked me. Post after post of people lamenting at how hard it is to get their chicken broth to gel,while others boasted of the perfect recipe to achieve gelatinous broth.

Why on earth would people want this?

Google search: WHY SHOULD YOU EAT GELATINOUS CHICKEN BROTH?

I was shocked at what I learned. Basically bone broth is full of really good stuff including:

  • Cartilage which includes glycosaminoglycans, chondroitin sulfate, keratin sulfate and hyaluronic acid. Cartilage may be useful in the treatment of ailments like arthritis, degenerative joint disease, inflammatory bowel disease and lowered immune function.
  • Red bone marrow which is an important source of nutritional and immune support factors. It contains myeloid and lymphoid stem cells.
  • Glycine and proline which are important amino acids important in the manufacturing of glucose, enhancing gastric acid secretion, supporting soft and connective tissue and the production of plasma.
  • Collagen which aides in soft tissue and wound healing, formation and repair of cartilage and bone, healing and coating the mucus membranes of the gastrointestinal tract and facilitating the digestion and assimilation of proteins.
  • A whole bunch of minerals*

This is a lot of stuff that seems important for people with connective tissue disease, digestive problems and joint problems – all things that I deal with. This is also a lot of stuff that I currently take in supplement form and pay a lot of money for.

I think the most amazing thing is that all this goodness comes from the part of the chicken that most modern American families throw away. It took one Crockpot, the carcass of our Good Life Ranch chicken, some veggie scraps and a day of unattended simmering to create this nutritional powerhouse. This is the frugal gal and health nut’s dream all simmered into one pot of gross looking meat Jello.

I rushed back to the chicken to inform Bird of all my new-found knowledge.

“Did you know BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH?” I trumpeted.

“Yeah… chicken broth is really good for you. This is why we are eating it,” Bird said while rolling his eyes.

“Correction – meat Jello. Seriously, you could spread this on toast. I bet that would be super nutritious!” I said.

“That’s disgusting. Don’t do that to toast. The soup’s ready now. Let’s eat.”

I’m pleased to report that I have had three bowls of this soup since we made it on Monday. While it’s not my favorite thing (I’d take lentil soup over chicken soup any day) I very much appreciate the nutritional value and the fact that we have used every scrap of this little chicken up. Tell me, do you make stock with the bones from your meats? If so, do you have any tips or tricks to share with us? 

* All nuritional information in this post came from The Jade Institute.

*************************

Bird and Belle’s Gluten-Free Chicken Soup

This is a rough guide to our soup since I did not take any notes while cooking. I sort of feel you can’t mess up soup, even when you use meat Jello as the base!

First: Make your stock following this Crockpot stock recipe. Note: the vinegar is key in this and really helps with drawing the nutrients from the bones.

Second: Chop your veggies. We used the following:

1/2 a large butternut squash peeled, seeded and chopped

1 chopped sweet onion

several cloves of the freshest garlic you can find (Farmers’ Market garlic is the absolute best)

some chopped celery and chopped baby carrots

A couple of cups of garbanzo beans because beans are both musical and good for your heart 😉 AND bump up the protein and healthy carbohydrates in your soup

Season to your liking

Simmer until the veggies are tender

Enjoy and know you are doing something good for both your body and the environment.

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7 thoughts on “Meat Jello

  1. I’m going to use the phrase ‘meat jello’ every chance I get! 🙂

    I’m surprised no one has shared the tip of freezing it in ice cube trays and keeping the cubes in a zippy bag. Then it’s so easy to throw an extra cube or two in sauces, soups, a pot of rice, whatever needs some flavor or more liquid.

  2. I make stock all the time, but have never made it in a crock pot! I am going to have to try that! I have a whole chicken almost ready to boil in my fridge right now. Thanks for the recipe! Loving how you call it meat jello! I am going to have to do that from now on!

  3. Love this! I’m always sure to leave some good meat on the bones before throwing them in the pot to make the stock. Also, don’t be afraid to throw other left overs in there (except brocolli, asparagus, cauliflower – which all will give the broth a funky flavor). Use a really good strainer. if you want a thicker base for the soup (gluten free) boil up a couple of potatoes, mash well and stir them in (russets or sweet potatoes best). Have fun!!

  4. Meat jello, you make me chuckle kid! Glad you were so pleased with the broth. Good luck with your adventures in carnivorism. Also, I really like the visual of Jay rolling his eyes at you, it’s karma.

  5. Yes, I most definitely make stock! This generally gets stuck in the deep freeze and pulled out whenever it might be useful. Like when you just really need some gravy and don’t want to roast something. I did that for my most recent feast. I went semi-potluck and someone informed me they were bringing mashed potatoes. I happened to have a frozen jar of poultry stock so was able to quickly (not counting thawing time) construct a delicious gravy.

    While I have never spread straight meat jello on toast, I do like to spread cold gravy (essentially broth or stock with some starch added) on toast.

  6. I was SO relieved that you got past the major yuck reaction to the gelatinous chicken broth. I love that broth and hate the watery stuff that comes in a can or box. When I eat my homemade chicken soup, a great feeling of healing comes over me. Really! Now that I have the scientific info you provided, I am even more convinced.

    My only problem is that the idea of soup is not-so-great when we have just endured 10 days of 110+ degree weather. We are down to 100ish, so you may have inspired me to get out the crock pot.

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