When we started weaning Nicholas we tried a combination of baby-lead weaning and the more traditional purees. Looking back I was probably unnecessarily overly concerned about two things: feeding him more vegetables than fruits so he didn’t develop a sweet tooth, and wanting him to easily eat lumpy food as quickly as possible. I wouldn’t be so concerned if I could go back in time.
Breast milk is naturally sweet and formula milk replicates this. Why suddenly shake up your little one’s tastebuds when they’re also dealing with solids for the first time? There are vegetables that are naturally sweet in flavour just as there are fruits which aren’t very sweet. I realise now that gradually introducing a wide range of different fruit and vegetables is the best way to develop your munchkin’s palette.
While not initially pureeing everything to a smooth paste saved me time (I’d mash food up with a fork or finely grate it), I shouldn’t have worried so much about getting Nicholas over that first (for a new mum very high) hurdle of his food journey. He would have got there in his own time. And what’s wrong with smooth food? I hate lumps in my mashed potato and love thick pureed soups. Smooth is just one of the many different textures of food and it’s these different textures that make food interesting.
This recipe works really well as a puree and also in a chunkier form. The original recipe by Belinda Graham is a baby puree. I’ve adapted how it’s cooked to make it a bit quicker for you to make, as well as keep as many nutrients as possible from boiling away.
1 chicken breast or thigh
1 medium sweet potato
3 soft dried apricots, finely diced
3/4 cup milk
Drizzle of olive oil (optional)
Pinch of salt (optional)
Prick the sweet potato with a knife or skewer in a few places all over. Cook on high in the microwave for 4-5 minutes until it feels soft inside. Leave to cool.
Bring milk almost to the boil in a small saucepan. Turn down heat to low.
Chop chicken into small pieces and add to the milk. Simmer for a few minutes until the chicken is just cooked through. Take out the chicken but keep the milk.
Cut the sweet potato in half and pull of the peel. Mash the flesh in a small bowl. Add apricots, and salt and oil if desired.
Break up the cooked chicken into the bowl. Add 1-2 tbsp of the poaching milk and mix to combine.
Puree the mix for a baby.