I am taking a moment to reflect on things this morning after our first chicken went into the soup pot last night. Turns out he wasn’t a hen, but a rooster. A week’s worth of crowing was a bit much for us (our kind neighbors didn’t say a word) so into the pot he went. My husband and I tried to impress upon our twelve year old twins the gravity of taking the life of another living being, my daughter was much more upset by the whole thing than the boys; all three kids dealt with it in very different ways, each one processing it in their own time. The boys watched the killing and helped with plucking feathers, all of that was too much for the girl. E was the most interested in the evisceration and asked questions about the organs, the craw of course being the most fascinating. As I put the small, lean bird into a pot of water and started the processing of making him into soup I gave a quiet thanks for having the privilege to get these experiences for myself and my family.
After cooking it until the meat fell off the bones I was amazed at how clean the bones and the broth looked. It made me disturbed to think about what we’re eating when we get chicken from the store. The meat is very lean, but the broth that was produced from the process is viscous and rich, I added the feet during that initial phase of cooking so that helped, but it didn’t do all of the work. It’s really a luscious broth (unctuous as a dear friend of mine would say). I let it cool overnight with the aromatics I had added, this morning I strained it and pulled out the meat. I sautéed some shallots and garlic, adding in smoky paprika, and a splash of homemade red wine vinegar. Next came carrots and a pinch of dried sage. I added the meat, gave that a quick stir and poured in the broth. Then came a bit of minced parsley and it simmered for about 20 minutes before I pulled it from the heat. The result is a chicken soup that’s better than anything I’ve ever made before, truly a fresh bird makes all the difference.
I reveled in that for a bit then did some other sorting and organizing in the fridge. I have to wonder how many people have such fresh chicken soup in the fridge alongside homemade sauerkraut, curing beef tongue, and a platter of braised beet salad hanging around in their kitchen, oh and I almost forgot the huitlacoche that’s in there to go with the fresh corn we’re having for dinner tonight. It’s just a day in the life of our house, and it’s wonderful.