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What to do with a spent hen?

rockandroller1 Dec 28, 2010 03:49 AM

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?

  1. Karl S Dec 28, 2010 04:03 AM

    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. r
      rosepoint Dec 28, 2010 11:35 AM

      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
        o
        ospreycove Dec 28, 2010 11:43 AM

        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. k
        karenfinan Dec 28, 2010 11:46 AM

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

        http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/afri...

        1. rockandroller1 Dec 28, 2010 12:51 PM

          thanks everyone!

          1. m
            meinNYC Dec 28, 2010 01:55 PM

            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.

            1. m
              morwen Dec 29, 2010 05:10 AM

              I use old hens for stock but I remove the breast meat as soon as it's cooked and return the rest of the bird to the pot. I mince the breast very fine (I use the FP pulsing with care, but it can be done with a knife), and combine that with finely minced celery, a touch of parsley and onion, a chopped hard boiled egg, s&p, and bind it with home made mayo for a chicken salad with very fine texture. The chicken is very flavorful due to it's age but it can be tough and this finely minced version of chicken salad takes care of that issue.

              1. j
                joonjoon Dec 29, 2010 06:04 AM

                Isn't Coq Au Vin supposed to be made with an old hen?

                1 Reply
                1. re: joonjoon
                  Karl S Dec 29, 2010 07:21 AM

                  Old rooster - which hasn't been spent by laying ... eggs.

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