One of the best ingredients for creating tasty puree dishes is the simple broth. Any good cook knows that you can buy broth in the supermarket and make good food, but the best tasting broth is the one that is homemade. Consider making homemade chicken stock.
You take the carcasses of two chickens, you cover with water, you add carrots, onions, celery, a bay leaf, salt and pepper, you bring to the boil and you simmer for an hour. You strain the broth and you freeze what you don’t use. I like to freeze my broth in two different sizes, one quart and one cup.
For the Puree
When it is time to puree any dish, meat, poultry, fish or vegetables, use a cup of the protein or veggie and add your broth in the bowl of the food processor or blender and pulse to incorporate the liquid. Adjust the amount of liquid for your level of the dysphagia diet. Less liquid for thicker puree. More liquid for thinner puree.
For the Freezer
This chicken stock is one of the simplest items one can create in the kitchen, in a very short amount of time. The recipes for broth below should be labelled with the date of creation and the “use by” date. I use sticky notes. I use Sharpie pens. I use glass containers recycled from commercially bought jams and jellies for the small size, and one quart containers of all types for the larger size. Some people like to freeze broth in ice cube trays so that they have small amounts to add to recipes.
No matter how you store them, these portions of broth are stored in the freezer. I kept a white board on the front of the freezer with the contents of the broth shelf written down with the numbers of servings. I adjusted the white board after a cooking session, either added or subtracted.
Hint: For a quickie meal on the go, the cook in the dysphagia kitchen can even freeze individual portions of cooked protein, such as chicken breasts or burgers, and puree with the different types of broth for different flavor profiles. This is the best way to get variety into the meals. It is the perfect cure for patient boredom. Variety is the spice of the dysphagia kitchen. There are many variations on the broth theme. Here are just a few.
- 1 quart chicken stock from the recipe above or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons finely sliced scallions
Garlic Broth, With or Without Tomato
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 7 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1/2 pound yellow cherry tomatoes, halved or grape tomatoes, halved
- Kosher salt
- 1 Cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
Sauté the garlic and shallots in the olive oil, after two minutes, add the tomatoes. When the tomatoes begin to get soft, after about another two or three minutes, add the chicken broth, salt and pepper. Tomato is optional.
Quick Tomato Broth
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups tomato juice
- 2 leaves basil or a tablespoon of pesto, see recipe in Essential Puree
Sauté the onion in the oil, add the tomato juice. I have become fond of Knudsen Organic Very Veggie juice, because the added veggies give the tomato broth depth of flavor.
Basic Tomato Curry Broth
- 1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon mild curry powder
- ½ small onion, diced
- ½ small apple, peeled and diced
- ½ small carrot diced
- ½ cup tomato juice or 2 tablespoons tomato paste dissolved in warm water
- ½ cup coconut milk
Toast the curry powder in a dry pan until it gives off the aroma of the spices.
Remove from the pan onto a saucer and wipe out the pan.
Add the oil and sauté the onion until translucent, about a minute. Then add the carrot and sauté another minute. Then add the apple and sauté a minute, until tender.
Add the tomato juice or tomato paste dissolved in water, stir into the veggies for about two minutes, then add the coconut milk and bring to the simmer.
Puree before freezing by placing the cooled liquid in the blender and blending until smooth. This is really a sauce rather than a broth, but the object is to get the curry flavor. This is wonderful with all sorts of protein, especially chicken, shrimp and lamb. It is also wonderful with vegetables such as sautéed zucchini and sautéed eggplant. For the puree, you can also add cooked rice, basmati is the most fragrant.
A Bonus Miso Soup Recipe from the Japanese Kitchen
Soak two pieces of kombu, which is dried kelp, a sea vegetable, in a bowl of hot water, about body temperature. Sauté onions and carrots in the bottom of a pan. Add the kombu and its water, and add enough water to make a quart.
This is a great base for miso soup, which you create by adding any other ingredients you like, spinach. You wait until your ingredients warm through or cook to a soft texture. This is where you add diced tofu, if you want tofu miso soup.
Turn off the heat, add a tablespoon of miso dissolved in warm water, bring the soup up to the simmer and turn it off. Remove the kombu strips before the puree. One can also make a dashi or broth by adding shaved bonita flakes, a cup of them, to the soup after one adds the kombu. In this case, before the puree, strain out the bonita flakes. These are made from dried tuna which has been shaved. Drying is a form of food preservation that is used throughout Asia.
Miso is a traditional food fermented from soybeans, and it should not be boiled. The puree is simple. Wait until the soup is cooled and add to a blender. As this is a clear soup, as traditionally made, you will want to use thickener to get the soup to be the desired consistency. This is usually one envelope of Simply Thick xanthum gum thickener, two pumps of the thickener that comes in the bottle or follow the package directions on the powdered form.
The Japanese believe there are tremendous health benefits to eating miso soup. It is thought to be a detoxifier. The traffic policemen in Tokyo are given a bowl of miso soup a day to cleanse the body of the pollutants they inhale on the job directing traffic.