I’ve already proven to myself that the meat of free range chicken is tastier and shrinkage is a lot less during cooking. A few days ago, I proved to myself that free range chicken makes the tastiest broth too.
The difference is amazing. I cooked a chicken, tofu and vegetables soup, and I wasn’t really expecting much. Just another chicken soup, I thought, until I had my first spoonful. It’s something that’s hard to describe without sounding over-acting. You have to experience it, and be able to compare the broth with one made with coop-raised chicken, to truly appreciate what an exceptionally good chicken broth really means. Less fat. You can always see the fat floating on the surface. The broth I made with the free range chicken had very little fat. Even the appearance is different. The broth was clearer than chicken broths I have made in the past using the exact same procedure. And there was none of the yellowish tinge.
I started making the broth as usual (see post on homemade broth). A whole chicken in a pot, cold water to cover, a whole onion, a whole garlic, peppercorns, a bay leaf, a couple of celery stalks, a carrot and salt. When the water started to boil, I skimmed off the scum that rose to the surface. I lowered the heat, covered the pot and simmered the chicken for an hour. I turned off the heat and let the chicken sit in the pot for a couple of hours.
When the chicken was cool enough to handle, I pulled the meat off the bones. I strained the broth and reheated just enough for one meal. The rest, I poured into containers that went into freezer. I always do that when I make broth. I make a lot and store two to three portions in the freezer for later use. We don’t use anything but homemade broth — it’s been that way for a long, long time. I don’t always use a whole chicken though. More often, we buy soup bones from the grocery.
So, anyway, I reheated the broth. I threw in freshly cut carrots, celery and cabbage. No, not the celery and cabbage that simmered with the chicken. Those were tasteless already because all their flavors had gone into the broth. So, new carrots and celery, plus cabbage. When the soup started to simmer, I added fried tofu.
Meanwhile, I put generous amounts of chicken meat in individual soup bowls.
When the vegetables were done, I ladled the soup — with veggies and tofu — into the bowls. I cracked an egg into each bowl and, lo and behold! — the best tasting chicken soup I have ever cooked in my entire life.