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LOTS of older frozen chickens?

m
meatbeagle Jan 28, 2012 09:59 PM

My sister let a whole lot of her hand-raised chickens sit in the freezer for nearly two years, and she was getting ready to toss them. Given that I'm POOR, and know that freezer-burn does not spell DOOM, and that she was unwilling to learn from me, my freezer runneth over with whole, frozen chickens... literally. I could feed them to the dog, thus saving much dinero, but I feel that these 30-40 chickens (or at least some of them) have a higher calling. Nothing being off-limits, and the freezer-burn not being (at least visibly) all THAT bad... what would you do with this much free food? How about the few locally-cured hams and pork shoulders mixed in? I can make lots of stocks and tacos, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

  1. boyzoma Jan 30, 2012 11:28 AM

    If you don't have one, I would highly recommend a Food Saver for your freezer. Mine has paid for itself dozens of times over. I make sauces and seal/freeze them (try a basic spaghetti sauce but add chicken and a little cajun spice) and serve over wide egg noodles. I seal bags of chicken tetrazzini, chicken ala king, etc. then I just heat and eat. Have fun with the chickens and I love to have lots of stock on hand. I am jealous.

    1. c
      cutipie721 Jan 30, 2012 10:47 AM

      I love marinating the dark meat in yoghurt / buttermilk and then bake / roast it.

      1. l
        luciaannek Jan 29, 2012 09:08 PM

        If you have that many, I'd do some tests. I'd try stewing, roasting, grilling, etc. See what works.

        But I'd guess that stewing will work the best. There are lots of traditional chicken stew recipes in European, Asian and South American cuisine. I'd just try googling "chicken stew" and the name of any country you can think of, and go from there.
        Here is the wikipedia page on chicken soup: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_....
        It lists quite a few traditional dishes, that you can search.

        I second that canning the meat would be a good idea.

        Also, I wouldn't just make stock. You have enough chickens that you'll have enough bones to make very nice stock without using the meat just for that.

        1. ipsedixit Jan 29, 2012 07:46 PM

          Freezer burn can be quite delicious, although admittedly it is an acquired taste.

          1. greygarious Jan 29, 2012 07:04 PM

            I'd poach one whole, skin on, and poach one skinless, as test cases. It seems to me that the skin gets the worst of the freezer burn. If skin-on broth and ane meat taste okay, you can consider the skin-on ones suitable for any cooking method. If not, and the skinless one tastes okay, use the remainder for skinless preparations. If things are iffy, a teriyaki marinade may cover a lot of sins. I like the Mr. Yoshida's Cooking Sauce sold at Costco and elsewhere.

            1 Reply
            1. re: greygarious
              m
              meatbeagle Jan 29, 2012 07:28 PM

              A very good suggestion indeed! I've got one poaching now, skin-on. I figure at the very least, I can make a spicy chicken salad or curry from it.

            2. Chemicalkinetics Jan 29, 2012 06:10 PM

              Well, there is one easy solution. Chicken stock.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                g
                GH1618 Jan 29, 2012 06:35 PM

                OP wouldn't want to discard the meat, and the stock should be pressure canned for long-term storage anyway.

                On looking into it, it turns out new pressure canners are pretty expensive. Better borrow one.

                1. re: GH1618
                  Chemicalkinetics Jan 29, 2012 06:59 PM

                  Stock made from whole chicken meat tastes richer than stock made from bones and loose meat. So it won't say the meat is wasted.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                    m
                    meatbeagle Jan 29, 2012 07:27 PM

                    Not a bad suggestion, and I will likely make use of it, but I tend to keep all of my carcasses for stock anyway - I like to stretch my food wherever possible.

                    1. re: meatbeagle
                      j
                      Jzone Jan 29, 2012 10:39 PM

                      For stock use the whole bird for the first 90 mins, remove bird and strip meat, return carcass and continue as you normally would for another 3 hours etc.

                      With the stripped meat you can shred, cube whatever and freeze again (since it's been cooked it'll be ok) in individual portions for soups, stews, pot pies, pasta sauces etc.

              2. n
                Nyleve Jan 29, 2012 04:36 PM

                Oh fergoshsake - don't throw them out. A little freezer burn isn't going to kill you. Use those birds to make any number of stewy, braised dishes that will still be absolutely delicious and perfectly safe to eat. Coq au vin; chicken stew or pot pie; heavily marinated teriyaki style baked chicken; chicken cacciatore; moroccan lemon chicken tagine; chicken curry; cook the chicken plain and use the meat to make tacos or salads; make a thick latin american chicken soup/stew concoction; arroz con pollo - so many possibilities. And yeah, if you want, you can cook one for the dog but the rest are for you. The trick is to make sure the flavourings are intense enough to overcome any flatness from being frozen for so long and that there's enough moisture to carry that flavour through the dish.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Nyleve
                  c
                  creamplease48 Jan 29, 2012 04:42 PM

                  Boy if you had a pressure canner and canning supplies, would this be an ideal time to use them! (:

                  1. re: creamplease48
                    g
                    GH1618 Jan 29, 2012 05:23 PM

                    That many chickens might make it worthwhile to get a pressure canner just to process them. Then it would be easier to use later.

                    1. re: GH1618
                      e
                      escondido123 Jan 29, 2012 08:38 PM

                      I'm curious as to why you would can the broth when you can just freeze it...considering the extra cost of setting up for it.

                      1. re: escondido123
                        m
                        meatbeagle Jan 29, 2012 08:42 PM

                        I THINK they're suggesting that I can the chicken, too - meat and all, as a means of preserving the meat longer and avoiding further freezer burn. I do have a small canner, and I prefer to can my stock, just to save room in the freezer.

                        1. re: meatbeagle
                          Chemicalkinetics Jan 29, 2012 08:55 PM

                          I have no idea what we are suggesting.

                        2. re: escondido123
                          g
                          GH1618 Jan 30, 2012 06:29 PM

                          Not the broth, but the whole chicken. I think it would be easier to process a few chickens at once, then just use it as needed, especially if one would normally not use an entire chicken for one meal.

                  2. k
                    kengk Jan 29, 2012 11:37 AM

                    A big pot of Brunswick stew would be good.

                    1. g
                      GH1618 Jan 29, 2012 11:23 AM

                      If I had that many chickens, I would donate them to a soup kitchen.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: GH1618
                        m
                        meatbeagle Jan 29, 2012 12:08 PM

                        I hear you on this, but if I donate these, I'll just have to go back and eat them there!

                      2. s
                        solargarlic Jan 29, 2012 05:26 AM

                        Really depends on the type of chicken...if they were older layers then that meat is too tough to roast, you HAVE to simmer it for hours, then you can reuse it for stews or soups. Coq Au Vin is a classic for fowl.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: solargarlic
                          chefj Jan 29, 2012 10:55 AM

                          Agreed many of us who live in urban areas would love to get our hands on some old layers for all those stewed/braised Chicken dishes and stocks.
                          In addition to Coq au vin ;
                          Chicken Bot Boi (P.A. Dutch pot pie)
                          Chicken and Dumplings
                          Chicken Fricassée
                          Waterzooi de Poulet
                          Poulet a la biere

                        2. d
                          dfrostnh Jan 29, 2012 04:48 AM

                          I would try a baked chicken pieces recipe that has a good syrupy glaze on it. (thinking soy sauce kind). Good ol' chicken pot pie should work fine.

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