Featuring stewing hens, this pauper's chicken stew both is economical and healthy – and delicious! Knowing that I'm a sucker for a local meat, the local farm from whom we buy natural chickens gives me a call when they're processing older – but of course, healthy – birds. As long as I stew these birds long and low, they turn out tender and delicious. Really, a good deal, no matter how you look at it! So, if you think you can't afford the higher price of local meat, consider asking around for stewing hens.
- 1 local, natural stewing hen
- 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 gallon to 1 gallon pure water, or to cover
- 2 inches of fresh ginger root
- few tablespoons of unrefined coconut oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- a dozen small red potatoes, scrubbed and halved (or quartered if medium size)
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- cumin to taste (I use about 1-1/2 tablespoons in 6 quarts of soup)
- turmeric to taste (I use 2 to 3 teaspoons in 6 quarts of soup)
Rinse the stewing hen and put it in a 9 quart or larger pot. Add the neck or any other parts, to impart additional flavor and nutrition to the broth. Add the apple cider vinegar, and then water to cover the chicken and fill at least three-quarters of the pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for three to four hours, to tenderize the chicken and create a great broth. The chicken is done when the legs are falling off the carcass and the meat is tender.
Turn the heat down to low. Remove the chicken to a bowl. Let it cool off for about 15 minutes to a half hour. Remove the ginger and any chicken other parts. Discard the ginger, but keep the chicken parts to make more stock with the chicken bones. Cover the pot.
While the chicken is cooling, saute the onions and garlic in the coconut oil, until softened. Add to the pot of broth, along with potatoes, salt, pepper, cumin, and turmeric. Raise heat and allow the soup to come to a simmer again. Cover while simmering, as the potatoes and onions cook fully.
Meanwhile, separate the chicken meat from the bones. Chop the meat to make bite-sized pieces, then add them to the soup, too, to simmer and absorb flavors while the potatoes cook. Keep the bones to make stock later.
The soup is done when the potatoes are tender, which is usually about twenty minutes to a half hour after adding them. Adjust seasonings as necessary – serve and enjoy!
© Copyright 2009 by Wardee Harmon
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