This post was written by guest blogger, Sarah Walker Cleaveland.
It was two days ago now that Lucy entered our lives. Sarah, after much deliberation, brought her home from the Farmer’s Market. We’ve never had anything like Lucy in our house before, but we had thought about it, and talked about it, and felt up for the challenge.
Lucy, you should know, was once a chicken – a lovely chicken from what we could tell. And, while she was dead before we got her home, she was intact and whole. We did our best to honor Lucy’s memory by grilling her with lemon and garlic tucked inside her and under her skin. And, when she was fully browned and juicy, we relished her for dinner.
Not being ones to waste, we pulled off the rest of her meat and saved her bones thinking perhaps we would brave the world of broth-making.
It wasn’t as easy as you might have thought, for two novice chefs. First of all, we have no stockpot. Oddly enough, no one bought one for us for our wedding, so we don’t own one (we’re cheap in the kitchen that way, some days). So, Sarah went out to Bed, Bath & Beyond and Target and debated the various possibilities and options (of which, apparently, there were many). She ended up going, thankfully, middle of the road with a cheaper Calphalon, non-stick 6-quart pot. It was a little smaller than we would have hoped (we were aiming for 8 quarts), but we made do.
When she came home, we dumped the bones in the pot, filled it with LOTS of water, an onion, some carrots, some salt and pepper. We let it boil for a few hours and then pulled the meat off the bones and left it to simmer overnight.
[As a side note, we had a small debate over what ‘simmer’ actually meant. Sarah felt as though ‘low’ was not simmer since nothing was moving in the pot. Adam thought ‘medium’ could not be simmer because that was actually boiling slowly. So, we looked it up in Betty Crocker who affirmed both views by defining simmer as just below the boiling point where bubbles will come up and break just below the surface. In the spirit of compromise, and after much experimentation, we set the burner at the setting just above low, but still two settings away from medium; put the lid on and left it to do its work while we got our beauty rest for the last day of classes.]
Throughout the night we had dreams and visions of chickens dancing over our heads and inviting us out to eight course meals and then offering themselves up as the main course. We woke up to the yummy smell of chicken, though perhaps not generally a smell we associated with morning and maybe, actually, not the most enticing smell first thing in the AM.
After getting ready for class, Sarah went down to get breakfast and stir the broth. To see our lovely broth and memorial to Lucy’s life and homage to conservation and using everything possible, click below.
Alright you cooks and chefs out there…what went wrong? Obviously, something had gone awry in the middle of the night. Thoughts? What does simmer mean for you?