We’ve been raising chickens for about 4 years now. They are truly charming and we love them. However, roosters can cause problems. First of all, although often very pretty, you can’t keep very many. It is suggested that you have one rooster to 25 hens. We therefore, only need to keep around one and only if we want fertilized eggs for hatching baby chicks. You don’t need a rooster at all to get eggs by the way. Fertilized and unfertilized eggs are indistinguishable in taste. Second, if you hatch out chicks (on average half are male), when they become “teenagers” they start to fight. In addition, if there aren’t enough hens, the rooster(s) can hurt the hen’s back from too much mating. This can lead to complete feather loss on their backs and even large cuts from the rooster’s claws and spurs. Third, not always but sometimes you will have an over aggressive rooster and they will attack you or worse your kids. For these reasons, we on occasion have locally raised chicken for dinner.
If you want to know that the chicken that you eat is humanly raised; raise them yourself. Our chickens have a very large area in which to range, peck, and scratch around like chickens. This area is fenced however, to keep away stray dogs or a marauding fox.Furthermore, I can make sure they have a healthy diet. So, why not enjoy chicken soup on occasion and have your own supply of superior eggs.
I always make a soup out of the leftovers and my family loves it.
I bake the chicken in my cast iron French oven (Dutch oven) made by Le Creuset. After the first dinner, I pick off any meat that is quick and easy to remove. Then I add enough water to cover the chicken bones. I also add a large onion (cut up in large chunks), a bay leaf or two, some fresh thyme from my garden, a few stocks of celery if I have any, and simmer it on the stove with the cover on but not completely closed for an hour or more. I then remove the carcass to anther container. If I’m making the soup right away, I scoop the droopy onion and celery out of the broth. Then I add some veggies- like chopped carrots, peas, corn… and a starch (brown rice, barley, or noodles). While that stuff is simmering on the stove in the same French oven, I pick all the meat off the bones. When the Veggies (and rice) are cooked, I add the chicken meat. I used to always shy away from dark meat but not anymore. Season with salt and pepper or leave out the salt and put in a bouillon cube instead.
I have an old fashion kind of cooking style. It’s the kind where you use up things that you have on hand, I don’t measure (well maybe when baking), and I make things to taste (shouldn’t we all?).