Sunday, March 31, 2013

Home made Baby Food

I've mentioned the many allergies in my family before, so we were quite careful introducing new foods to our daughter.

She doesn't like the jarred baby food and it was a real struggle to get her to eat it. Our nanny, who is middle eastern, said that in her home country, everyone just boiled bone in chicken, carrots and potatoes together and then mashed or pureed it to make baby food.

It doesn't sound very appetizing does it? But have a taste of any of the jarred food available and you'll see how awful it tastes.

We did try our nanny's recipe with our daughter at 8 months and she loved it. Since she is now almost 11 months, we're being a bit more adventurous and adding more vegetables. Here's a picture of the food we made for her today:

Baby Food before Being Mashed up. It had carrots, celery root, leeks, potatoes and chicken

and here it is pureed:

Pureed! Looks less appetizing now, but baby will love it!

Here's the recipe:

1 skinless chicken drumstick (I buy organic packs and freeze them in individual sandwich bags)
1 medium celery root diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium carrot diced
1 medium potato diced
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1/2 a small leek chopped
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1/2 teaspoon butter or olive oil
2 cups water (You may need more if you want a thinner consistency

Put the 1/2 teaspoon butter in a non stick sauce pan and drop in the chicken drumsticks in the pan and allow them to brown a little. Season them with the salt and pepper as they are browning.
Add a couple of tablespoons of the water and add the chopped leeks. At this point, you may also want to add another 1/2 teaspoon of butter. The idea is to sweat the leeks and get them really soft.
Add the rest of the chopped vegetables and stir to prevent from sticking to the bottom of the pan for 2-3 minutes.
Add the rest of the water and bring to boil.
Cover and simmer until chicken and vegetables are soft. The chicken should be falling off the bone at this point. Shred the meat and pull out the bone once cooled.
The food should be thick from the starches in the vegetables. You can now puree it and store it in jars in the fridge for up to 3 days and in the freezer for a month (use ice cube trays as an easy way to store the pureed baby food).

Since our baby is older at the time of the post, I also added a few spices like a clove of garlic chopped fine and a little coriander powder for flavor. You can experiment with different herbs. Thyme and bay leaves are a good addition to this kind of food.

If you like, you can also replace the water in the recipe with a low sodium, organic chicken stock. This will make it even more tasty, but make sure you use a low sodium stock, because baby's kidneys are not yet equipped to deal with a lot of sodium!

You can also add various kinds of vegetables as a variant. I did green beans and kale as well the last time and our little one loved it! The broth from the chicken leg makes all the vegetables taste yummy!

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