Inga's Indulgence

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Baby Gourmet

I think I may have overestimated the sophistication of Zelli’s palette.
 Since introducing solids, I haven’t recieved any fussiness or discrimination from his side. In fact, my only problem has been getting the food into his mouth fast enough.  But just when I thought my baby was the best eater of all time, I found myself in a feeding frenzy.
After an hour and a half of trying to make Zelli eat some freshly prepared chicken, more food had landed on me, than in his mouth. The good news was the feeding session from hell was over; the bad news – I would have to repeat it the next day, since I had one more portion left in my fridge.
 So the next day, as dinnertime slowly crept up on me, I decided to transform the unpopular chicken into something that Zelli would mop up with as much of an appetite as he does most other foods. I steamed some carrots and sweet potatoes, and mixed them into the chicken puree. I added just enough vegetables to sweeten and “disguise” the chicken without overpowering it.
Results: success! Not only did he finish the whole thing at his usual pace (10 minutes), but he made little “mmm” noises the whole time. In the end, Zelli’s tummy and taste buds were satisfied, while mommy was able to sleep at night knowing that her baby was getting the nutrients that he needed.
Chicken with Sweet potatoes & Carrots
1, 1-2 lb organic whole poussin (baby chicken), skin & gizzards removed
2 stalks celery, each chopped into 4 pieces
2 medium carrots, each chopped into 4 pieces
1 yellow onion, halved
3 quarts cold water

1 medium organic sweet potato, peeled & cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium organic carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1.       Place first 5 ingredients into a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that floats to the top. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 40 minutes, skimming every 10-15 minutes.

2.       Steam sweet potato and carrots together until tender. You can use a steamer basket if you have one (I have a steamer insert that fits right on top of my stockpot, so I was able to cook the vegetables and the chicken simultaneously, using the same pot). If you don’t have a steamer basket, just place the vegetable chunks into a medium saucepan and add enough water to barely cover the veggies. Cover pan, and steam over medium-low heat, until tender.

3.       Remove chicken from pot, and set aside to cool. Strain the cooking liquid. Place about 1/3 of the strained liquid into a container. This can be used to thin out vegetable and meat/poultry purees for your baby. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze for up to 3-4 months.

 As for the remaining cooking liquid, spice it up with salt and pepper to taste, and you've got a nice clear chicken broth that you can eat as is, or use as a base for other soups and sauces.

4.       Once the poussin has cooled, remove all of its meat and place into food processor. Puree until smooth, and no chunks are detectable. Add cooked sweet potato and carrot pieces, and puree until a smooth and homogenous orange mixture forms.  

*Keeps in refrigerator for 2-3 days, and in freezer for up to 3 months.
*You can pour mixture into ice trays (each ice cube is about ½ ounce, so if you need 2 ounces you would   take 4 cubes), or measure the appropriate portion size for your baby, and wrap individually in plastic wrap. i.e., my baby eats 4 ounces of puree, so I portioned several individual 4-ounce servings in plastic wrap, put them into zip lock bags, and froze them.

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