We have been having coolish weather the last week or so...and I'm still on a soup kick..Of course, I can eat soup year round so that is no biggie for us, but for some reason (yeah, cold weather in Hawai'i and needing comfort food!), I have been making soups more often lately..
When I got up this morning I decided I would make split pea soup in the crock pot, so started it fairly early in the day.
I've been buying organically raised broiler chickens from a farmer friend just a few miles north of us - see report HERE (I thought I had shared it with Gather at the time but can't find the article by doing a cursory check...)
Anyway, we buy our nice, big, plump fresh chickens on the very day they are killed and processed. Â Can't get any fresher than that! Â The taste is amazing!...ok, but back to the soup...
Whenever I cook any of the chickens, I save the skin and bones to make stock. Â No big deal, Â Just put the skins and bones in a pot of water. Â No need to season with anything or add any other ingredients unless you want to. Â Let it cook a while and reduce it to theÂ strength desired. Â Cool, skim the fat off the top (and save it!*) and freeze or use fresh.
Trying to be frugal we've been using every bit of each chicken and not wasting anything. Â This way I know my chicken broth has no sodium (unless I add a little bit of sea salt), no MSG, no chemicals. Â Just pure chicken stock.
I had cooked chicken yesterday and had fresh stock made, so I put some in the crock pot, Â added the dried split peas, fresh carrots and onions and a couple of bay leaves from the bush in our yard. Â I do not add seasonings until after halfway the cooking process.
Just salt and pepper and a touch of ground cumin with this one...
At time the photo was taken the broth had just started to bubble and the aroma through the house was already delicious...this is the point at which I added the onions. Â It will take about three more hours to be just so.
(*) Uses for the chicken fat skimmed off the top of the broth: use bits of it to sautÃ© mushrooms; add to livers when making chicken liver patÃ©; if you can't eat the fat yourself, use it mixed in with your pet food...they love it!