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Dec 28, 2010 03:49 AM

What to do with a spent hen?

Got one in my CSA basket. Once I figured out what this was (ha), I tweeted some folks and got the suggestion of coq au vin. 2 days and 800 ingredients/steps later, I wasn't impressed with the result. The chicken had so little meat on it that this method did nothing to enhance it. It was tough and nearly impossible to get off the bone.

I know I could have just made broth or something but I was looking for a way to use it that would be more interesting. This wasn't it. What would you do with a spent hen, or what have you done with success? If I were to make stock or broth, I would assume I should try to get the meat off the bird first since it was so tough to remove after cooking?

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  1. If you make the broth/stock right (at the barest simmer for several hours), the meat won't be worth eating (except by the dog or cat) after you make it. That's what these things are good for.

    1. Try cooking the bird in a pressure cooker. We had a roo who we waited waaaaay too long to process. After cooking all day in a crockpot it was still tough so we stuck the entire bird in the pressure cooker, cooked the heck out of it and added it back to the stew. The meat was a lot more tender than we expected but certainly not tender like a store bought bird.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rosepoint

        Old hens are really not for eating like a young roaster or fryer, These hens have had a tough life pumping out eggs day after day, except during moulting. The suggestion of slowly simmering it for stock is the best use that I have found.

      2. I just saw this recipe, haven't tried it, but it calls for an older bird.

          1. Here in NYC I think it's a soup chicken. Makes the best chicken soup. I find the meat inedible but the white meat cut up in soup is tolerable. Finding a soup chicken is no easy feat in NYC. I get mine at Citarella.