Backyard Chicken Soup.

Sorry everyone for the delay between posts. It has been a busy week or so since I posted last.

Autumn is here and harvest time is in full swing even for we urban I am not hippies. I had planned to do the post below on Monday but we got a message from a good friend on Sunday night offering for us to come up and get as many organic chestnuts as we wanted. A. and I both love them and this was simply to good an offer to pass up. We ended up with over 30kg of nuts in 3 hours so a good haul there will be more on this in another post shortly. And since then I have been flat out making more bacon, processing apples and pears we got from my parents place for baby food. Using up a big box of prickly pear a friend gave me, other food to preserve and make up, cider to press, rhubarb champagne to brew and lots to do in the back yard but all these are all for other posts.

The other day a good friend who runs a blog called libby-cooks posted a nice little recipe called ‘Apocalypse now Rabbit and juniper pie’ and it got me thinking what could I make that was pretty much just from my backyard or a local food swap? All in one pot that would nourish taste buds as well as just plain nourish.

A while back my father gave me 4 young chickens with the comment ‘there might be one rooster in their son …’ well there where 3 roosters in their dad, and after complaints from the neighbours and friends living 3 blocks away about the noise of the roosters at 2 in the morning. I ended up with 1 layer and three roosters in the freezer.

I still had one of these birds left so the obvious recipe was chicken soup.

As you can see from the photo these are not one of your regular nice and round chickens they are a bit long and lean but they slow cook like a dream till the meat falls off the bone.

I did cheat and use a couple of items that didn’t come from my back yard but it could have as easily been made without these few ingredients (perhaps not the salt)

So below are the ingredients. If they have a star and a description they are not from my backyard

  • One home sourced chicken (or a good organic free-range chicken like a Bannockburn)  
  • 5 carrots sliced
  • 5 celery sticks and leaves sliced
  • 2 large Onions diced roughly ** from my father
  • Salt to taste **
  • Fresh ground black pepper **
  • Bunch of kale sliced ** swapped at peppertree place on Saturday for eggs
  • 3 Large potatoes diced
  • Handful of pearl barley **
  • Sprig of parsley
  • Sprig of thyme
  • Sprig of oregano
  • French Tarragon
  • 5 fresh bay leaves

So basically put your chicken in a pot with lots of water, some salt, pepper, the herbs all tied together in a bundle, carrots, onions, celery and kale cook and cook some more till the chicken is falling of the bones. Take out chicken and strip meat from bones (I do this as A. has an aversion to chicken skin and fiddly bones…) and put back in. Add potatoes and pearl barley simmer some more till barley potatoes are cooked and server with some of A. sourdough bread. The almost sweetness of chicken soup works really well with the taste of real sourdough.

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** If you are using commercial chicken you may need to cool the soup in the fridge overnight and then skim off the fat. This chicken had almost no fat on it so I didn’t do this on this occasion.

Yes there are ingredients that didn’t come from my backyard but. Kale and Onions have been planted. I have grown barley and wheat here for chicken food in small amounts before but wouldn’t waste the space now the garden is coming on line. Salt and pepper will be an issue but I suppose I could have used a bit of celery salt and some home grown dried chillies.

At the end of the day this was an intellectual and tasty exercise to see what could do from my backyard. I am happy to be just able to have the fresh ingredients and it shows what you can do with a small 1/8 of an acre block.

Speaking of autumn and harvest got go and finish another batch of apples being sauced for baby food. More posts shortly or check out libby’s blog she is great cook and I am sure you will find some recipes to try in there.


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