chicken soup for the heartless soul

live chickens at market Northern Laos

Now that we had somewhere to do some cooking, we ventured out to the poultry section at the market.

live chickens at market Northern Laos

These aren’t frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  These are live free range organic (as far as I know) chickens, roosters, and ducks brought daily to the market to await their fate.

live chickens at market Northern Laos

If you know what you’re doing, you can pick out your own chicken, feel it, pinch it, and make sure it’s healthy and the exact size you want.

live chickens at market Northern Laos

If you don’t know what you’re doing, like us, you can just let the nice vendor lady select your bird for you.

live chickens at market Northern LaosAfter she made the choice for me, she took my chicken, hung it from a plastic string and waited until it stopped flapping wildly around.  I’m not even a huge “animal lover,” but at this point, I felt a little bad for the poor chicken.

live chickens at market Northern Laos

She stoked her fire until the water was boiling, and plunged my now dead chicken into the water to loosen up its feathers.

live chickens at market Northern Laos

Then, she expertly finished plucking it with one hand, while taking a call with the other.

live chickens at market Northern LaosAfter she hung up, she dug out the entrails.

live chickens at market Northern Laos

It is default that the customer takes the entrails home with them.  But, I declined the “best parts,” and my gutless little chicken got plopped into a plastic bag for me to take home.

chicken stock

I bought this chicken with the purpose of making chicken stock.  We’ve been making chicken stock for a while now but we’re having to relearn the part of acquiring the chicken.

When I make my stock, I fill the stock pot, and soak the bird with a little vinegar for about an hour.  Then, I bring it to a boil and skim the scum off the top.  After the scum is skimmed, I then add some vegetables and herbs and allow it all to simmer for several hours.  When it’s done I strain it and let the broth cool.  You can click here for more details and a video instructional on how to make stock.

chicken stock

It’s a little disturbing that the chicken opens its mouth and sticks its tongue out while it simmers away.

chicken stock

I reserved a pot full of broth and the meat (which only ended up being about a cup’s worth) to make a big batch of chicken and vegetable soup.  The rest I poured into containers and froze it so that we can have a cup of broth with our lunches for it’s warming and immune boosting properties during the cold winter.

superfod chicken broth

As it turns out, grandmas weren’t wrong about the benefits of chicken soup.  Broth made from scratch using bones of good quality animals has huge health benefits.  Broth is easy for our bodies to digest and delivers a ton of minerals in a form that is really easy for our bodies to absorb.  It actually even helps strengthen the digestive and immune systems and will help in recovering from most any illness. (source)

What is your favorite kind of soup?  Have you ever picked out a live animal for your dinner?


4 thoughts on “chicken soup for the heartless soul”

  1. Melissa sans Julia
    Great story with a yummy ending. Brought back memories for me as my mom raised chickens where I grew up in Pa. She would choose one of the birds and together we would go down into the cellar where she would chop its head off. “Running around like a chicken with its head cut off” is easy for me to visualize in my current antiseptic world as this was a weekly experience for me. Into boiling water the chicken was plunged to remove the feathers and then clean out the gullet and entrails. Organs were simmered together with onion & celery and then cut up into fine pieces and added to stuffing. It looks like some tasty meals are ahead for you and your family. Very impressive. Bon appetite!


  2. You are so gifted in your story telling and photography! I am there with you each time I read a post! Even Uncle Glenn went to the link to support me making broth! Here’s to staying healthy!!!


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