Kombu Chicken Soup with Carrots and Mushrooms- By Bon Appétit

    kombu-chicken-soup-with-carrots-and-mushrooms.jpgLaura Murray       

Let’s face it… A LOT of foods just don’t work for individuals with Crohn’s, making some sort of restrictive diet almost always inevitable. When the same old bland food day after day just won’t cut it, getting flavor wherever you can get it can become an obsession.  But taking risks on new foods can be down right terrifying… You never know how your body is going to handle it. That is where broths can become a Crohn’es BFF.

Broths can be a great way to introduce new and complex flavors, possibly with less risk than having to digest entirely new and foreign foods. Taking the time to explore all sorts of broths from other cultures, particularity Asian, can open your dietary restrictions to a whole new world.  Especially when you make the broth yourself to ensure that only ingredients that work for you are thrown into the mix, as well as giving you the ability to maximize foods that actually help with your symptoms, (such as ginger or bone broth.)
This “Kombu Chicken Soup with Carrots and Mushrooms” dish from Bon Appétit may not seem very familiar to many people. It has several ingredients that you may have never heard of, and probably wouldn’t have been all that interested in if you have.  This recipe calls for Kombu.  Kombu is a dried seaweed, commonly eaten in East Asia and is considered by many a “Nutritional Powerhouse” from the sea.  High in Calcium and Iron, this seaweed is extremely rich in minerals, and even helps with digestion, reduces gas and improves thyroid function. Kombu is also used as an intense flavor enhancer and adds a remarkable salty-savory flavor profile to any dish.  Kombu is particularly unique from other seaweeds because it has the ability to produce stock, called Dashi. The Japanese use dashi to create a base in numerous broths, from miso soup to noodle broths. For people with Crohn’s, the addition of Kombu to any meal can mean a huge flavor boost, as well as the addition of much needed nutrients, (without having to digest the Kombu itself.) Simply strain the broth before consumption, and you will be left with all the delicious goodies this seaweed has to offer, without the need for difficult digestion.(Just make sure to read the labels, some Kombu may be high in carcinogens from the smoking process.)

This dish also calls for bonito flakes. Bonito flakes are dried, fermented and smoked – tuna flakes. (When if comes to gut health, we all know that fermented foods seem to be about as good as it gets….as long as it can be tolerated.) Traditionally, bonito flakes have been used in Japanese cuisine as a remedy to treat fatigue and colds. (Not that people with Crohn’s ever experience fatigue, ha!)

Crohn’s Adjustments for this Recipe

Of course everyone will have unique changes based on their individual tolerances, but here are a few suggestions:

Mirin- On the list of ingredients, mirin may not be something you just have hanging out in your pantry. Mirin is a rice wine, similar to sake. There are several variations of mirin, some with less than 1% alcohol. Although it has lower alcohol content than sake, it has quite a bit of sugar and may not be tolerated well.  Rice Vinegar can be used for a substitute.

Spinach- Some people can handle a bit of leafy greens, some can’t. If spinach causes you problems, simply leave it out, or add a veggie that works for you (possibly bean sprouts or another varition of mushrooms.) Thai Basil leaves can add that spark of desired freshness, and can easily be removed before it is served.

Toasted Sesame Seeds- As a general rule, seeds of any kind are typically avoided by those with Crohn’s. If you are looking for a bit of the toasted flavor, you could try a dash of toasted sesame seed oil.

Overall Benefits of This Dish

If most of these ingredients look like foods that you can tolerate, you will have made a delicious soup that is not only full of flavor and minerals, but a soup that aids digestion, fights fatigue, is a great source of Vitamin D (from the mushrooms,) and provides a huge boost of immunity building power…especially if you use your own bone broth. Sounds pretty good right?

Please let us know if you have tried it, or made any adjustments…We’d Love to Know!

Ingredients

4 SERVINGS

  • 10 ounces mature spinach (about 1 bunch), trimmed
  • 3 6×4-inch pieces dried kombu
  • 6 cups (preferably) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup bonito flakes
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled, cut into 2-inch matchsticks
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, thinly sliced
  • Toasted sesame seeds (for serving)

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* PLEASE NOTE:  THIS IS MERELY AN OPINION BLOG. THE RESEARCH AND INFORMATION COVERED IN THIS BLOG IS OPEN TO PUBLIC DOMAIN FOR DISCUSSION.  WE DO NOT HAVE ANY FORMAL MEDICAL BACKGROUND.  WE SIMPLY WANT TO SHARE AND DISCUSS FOODS FOR THOSE WITH CROHN’S DISEASE. BECAUSE PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM CROHN’S DISEASE TOLERATE A VARIETY OF FOODS DIFFERENTLY, RECIPES OFTEN NEED SPECIFIC ALTERATIONS FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL.  GET CREATIVE! LEAVE OUT THE FOODS THAT DON’T WORK FOR YOU AND USE THE FOODS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD. HAPPY COOKING!!

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