You may recall from my recent post on raising chickens for meat that it was an expensive venture. This is the one time I am glad I am so terrible at keeping records. The chickens themselves were not expensive but the cost of raising them made them worth more per pound than I have ever paid. So why bother? What’s the point? I could call it quits and settle for grocery store meat. I could give up on my dream of one day being totally food self-sufficient. But where would the satisfaction be in that?
There is nothing more satisfying than growing and raising your own food. It is a small act of rebellion that can have a large ripple effect if more people started doing it. If we grow and raise our own food, we lessen the demand for the lab-created foodstuffs that destroy our health (for a great source on why you should stop consuming these GMOs check out my friend Richard’s e-book Why Shouldn’t I Eat Genetically Modified Foods). Growing and raising your own food also gives you full control over the food that goes onto your plate. How does it taste? Pretty darn satisfying — like a big bowl of steamy homemade chicken soup. It’s kind of like giving the finger to the crooked food industry while at the same time filling your tummy with a delicious meal truly made from scratch.
So how do you stay motivated in the dead of winter when your chickens are eating what few eggs they are producing and it’s too cold to grow your own food? By tossing a home-raised chicken in a big ole soup pot, tossing in some homegrown veggies and making a batch of homemade chicken soup. Instant satisfaction.
No one said this venture would be an easy one. There are plenty of times that I have wanted to just give up and say I’m not capable of this — especially when its -20 and it hurts your skin just to be outside. But the truth is, I am capable. We all are. It doesn’t take much to raise and grow your own food: a little know how and a lot of follow though. If there is one thing you need to succeed in this homesteading lifestyle it’s desire. A desire to be less dependent on everybody else and more dependent on your own capabilities.
Being self sufficient is as satisfying a bowl full of piping hot homemade chicken soup on a cold February day. It warms you up from the inside out and fills your belly with homegrown goodness. Today I’m sharing a basic broth recipe and a bonus chicken noodle soup recipe to go with it. If you are starting to doubt this simple kind of life, whip up a quick batch and feel an instant sense of self satisfaction.
Basic Chicken Broth
- one whole free-range, organic chicken cut into pieces
- 3 large organic carrots, diced
- 1 large organic onion, diced
- 6 cloves organic garlic, crushed
- one organic celery heart, diced
- 12 Cups cold water
Heat olive oil in the bottom of a stock pot. Add vegetables and sauté until fragrant. Once your veggies are starting to soften, add the chicken pieces and lightly brown them. Once browned, cover chicken and veggies with cold water and bring to a simmer. Cover and lower heat, continuing to cook over a light simmer for several hours. Disturb the pot as little as possible if you want a clear broth. Skim any foam off the top.
Remove solids and ladle stock into canning jars. Store in fridge for up to one week or freeze for up to six months.
From Stock to Soup: Homemade Chicken Soup
To make a quick chicken noodle soup with your just-made stock add about half of the chicken meat, carrots and celery back to the pot and return to a simmer. Sample your broth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add noodles of choice and cook until done. Serve piping hot with some fresh bread. Feel the cold February blahs just melt away and smile in satisfaction knowing you put in more than a few hours over the stove to put that meal on the table.
Picky Eater Confession: As I was enjoying a bowl of this piping hot soup I turned to my husband and said, “I think I’m going to try a carrot.” He gave me this weird look as if to say, “so?” I looked back at my bowl of soup, dug in my spoon and pulled up the smallest piece of carrot I could find and timidly put it in my mouth. Dreading the regret I was sure to feel over the ridiculous notion of consuming a carrot, I slowly bit down on the orange root vegetable. “Huh, it’s not so bad,” I say to the hubby. He just shakes his head. This may not seem like a big deal to most but for me, it’s huge. I’ve touched on the ill will I have for peas but not for the carrot.
You see, the last time a cooked carrot entered my mouth was at the dinner table of my childhood home. After being forced to eat the carrots on my plate, I swiftly made my way to the bathroom and rid myself of the wretched orange root. I blamed the carrots, but it was likely my picky self rebelling against those dreaded vegetables. It worked. Never again was I forced to eat another carrot. A small victory that in hindsight wasn’t so victorious. All this time I have blamed the poor carrot when all along it was me.