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17 June 2007 @ 09:44 am
Chicken Barley Soup  
Made this the other day.  It was scrumptious.  Still is - there are three pints in the freezer, and two quarts in the fridge.
First, slaughter a chicken.  Ok.  You can start with a frozen chicken from the store if you'd prefer. 

Warning: this took two days to make.  But oh, is it worth it.

1 chicken
2 gallons water
4 to 6 cloves garlic
1 - 2 T marjoram
1 - 2 T oregano
1/4 c finely chopped fresh parsley
1 leaf lovage

1. Fill a large pot with water and start heating it.
2. Add one frozen chicken
3. Cook until the chicken is no longer frozen, and for a bit more.  I simmered it for two hours.
4. Strain the broth and chicken, and put the broth back in the pot and on the stove to cook down some more.
5. Pull all of the good meat off the bones, cut it into small pieces, and set it aside in the refrigerator.  Return the bones and other mess to the pot and cook.
6. Add several cloves of garlic, a tablespoon or two of marjoram and of oregano, a bunch of salt to taste, and some large pieces of kelp to the broth/bones and let them cook for several hours.
7. Strain the broth again. 
8. Remove most of the fat from the top of the broth.  I found that a spoon actually worked faster than a turkey baster, although the latter was useful for recovering some broth that escaped with the fat I was removing.  Take the excess chicken fat, bones, kelp and stuff out into the woods and feed the wild fox.
9. Return the broth to the stove.  If it has cooked down considerably in this time (mine went from about two gallons to about one) you can add more water.  Add a handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped, and a small bit of fresh lovage, ditto.  More garlic and salt if desired.  Pour in about two cups of pearled barley (if you have 1 1/2 to 2 gallons of broth). 
10.  Simmer, covered, until the barley is cooked (perhaps 20 minutes).  Add the chicken pieces you set aside earlier.  Heat for ten minutes more and serve with buttered toast.  Yum.

(Of course, I'd eat buttered toast with just about anything; you can vary the addition there with other excellent effects)
(Another note: I added those particular herbs because I had them.  You could probably make something equally delicious with other herbs and spices.)
Biston Betularia: dishespepperedmoth on June 18th, 2007 02:33 am (UTC)
Slaughtering the chicken, Allison, is totally an essential step.
a wind-carried wing: electric dandelionaenohe on June 18th, 2007 04:46 am (UTC)
You know, I've always wanted to learn how to slaughter my own food.
betonicabetonica on June 18th, 2007 12:14 pm (UTC)
Well, we had a cookbook that had a lot of the real basics, so we looked in it. It said "slaughter the chicken" and then went on to talk about how to pluck and gut it. Biiig help. We managed, though. There were six, and I guess we still have four in the freezer. I have to make another batch of soup, because it turns out S can't do the barley. Maybe in a few days.
dr_bratdr_brat on June 18th, 2007 01:08 pm (UTC)
Feeding cooked bones to domestic animals is not a good idea because they splinter. I'm wondering if they'd be any better for the wild fox.
betonicabetonica on June 18th, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC)
Well, my mom's been doing it for years (decades, probably) and the fox population doesn't seem to have gone down. I'd heard that feeding any bones to domestic animals was bad, but to wild animals was ok. I suspect your line has more veracity, but I don't have the facts to back it up.

What would I do with the bones if I didn't feed them to the fox? Composting is much the same - any critter will come through and eat them. Burying probably wouldn't work any better - they'd just get dug up. I could do what they do in cities - put them in the garbage. That would really smell, though, and the trash only gets picked up every two weeks.

Life is full of these knotty problems.
dr_bratdr_brat on June 18th, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
LOL! May all your problems be like chicken bones!

Yeah, I'd heard the no bones thing, but then I got a puppy from a breeder that feeds a raw diet. Even gives the dogs raw chicken wings. Now, that's something to watch. DWH couldn't handle the process, though, so our boys only get raw beef knuckle bones, so far as bones go. Keeps their teeth nice and clean and gives them a way to occupy a few hours once a week.