Of Soups and Broth

As a family, we’re avid fans of Esther’s excellent soups and stews, and can easily make a meal of a bowl of her tasty soup. With the arrival of cooler weather, mealtime often includes a large bowl of soup or stew. Esther makes a superb chili and chicken corn soup, and recently began offering pints and quarts of it in our retail store. Feel free ask about it if you don’t see it.

Soup in our home almost always contains broth—usually chicken broth. When we process chickens during the summer, we’ll make a large batch of broth in our 30 gallon stainless steel cooker every week out of chicken neck & backs and feet.

Rather off-putting, isn’t it? In all honesty, we used to think so too, but have come to value the benefits of the collagen they offer outweighs any misgivings of using feet. Besides, many foreign cultures are have these types of cuisine for thousands of years, and are only healthier for it. For example, if you’ve ever shopped in Europe, you may have noticed that calves feet are displayed at the local butchers and meat chickens come with their heads and feet attached. Hooves, feet and heads are the most gelatinous portions of the animal and fetch high prices in traditional economies. In fact, Tyson exports the feet from American chickens to China. Jewish folklore considers the addition of chicken feet the secret to successful broth.

If you find the thought of using feet tolerable, I’ll toss you another one. We recommend using chicken heads in addition to feet, and package feet and heads together to use for broth. Many renowned chefs around the world use broth made with feet and heads as their “secret recipe” to add flavor to a dish.

In the last few years, bone broth and stock have gained popularity again, after having fallen by the wayside years ago like many other “old-fashioned foods”. However, most commercially produced broth is only a shadow of the real thing made from fresh chicken carcass, and even more so when the real thing is made with chicken feet. Even organic commercial chicken broth usually contains harmful ingredients (be sure to watch the video) and unnecessary sweeteners, and in the perfect world would not exist or at least sold with an honest label.

The good news is, you can create that “perfect world” in your household by making broth on your oven. I know, you may feel like you have more than enough on your plate, but making your own broth is very empowering, is really as easy as it sounds, and boasts a rich, nourishing flavor. Esther and I take a cup along to do morning chores, and joke about our “morning coffee”.

Here’s the recipe:
1 crock pot
1 package chicken neck & back (approx.. 5 lbs.)
2 packages chicken feet & heads (about 6 feet and 6 heads)
Filtered water
2 Tbsp. vinegar — we use the Bragg brand (with the mother)
1 Tbsp. sea salt — preferably Himalayan or Celtic salt (includes all the natural minerals)
Optional: vegetables and herbs to flavor your broth, we like it plain
Bring it to a low boil for about two hours and then turn it down to a simmer for another 10-20 hours.

This is really as easy we make it out to be, no need to hover over the pot, just let it simmer for the desired length of time and then strain out the bones, and you have a pot of excellent homemade broth to enjoy. Don’t think twice, just do it, and experience the empowerment! Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” I know that to be true. And that’s the View from The Country.

P.S.  While we stock chicken broth, as well as Esther’s chili soup and chicken corn soup, we would rather see you emboldened in your kitchen making your own.

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