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Feb 5, 2012 05:03 AM

Spent Hen Help

Hi all,

So I just received a 2.5 lb spent hen from my CSA. I was going to either use it to make a soup or stock. Does anybody have any tips, suggestions, ideas or recipes?

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  1. I assume that you mean a hen that is too old to lay. If that is the case, the birdie will be very tough, but will have great flavor. I have laying hens, and when I have to deal with an old bird, I make stock, using my pressure cooker. I don't bother with the meat--I just pressure cook in water, with onion, celery and carrots, until the very bones are soft. I use the meat/veg mix as dog food. The stock is wonderful. Did you get the feet, too?

    1 Reply
    1. re: sparrowgrass

      Yes I do mean a hen that is too old to lay. Unfortunately I did not get any feet. I was surprised at how small the bird was but I assume it will still make a great stock.

    2. I'm going to second the stock recommendation. I bought an old stewing hen at the farmer's market and made stock and coq au vin. The meat was very stringy and not particularly good. But the coq au vin sauce was amazing! I did have pieces of "regular" chicken in the mixture, too.

      Also used a stewing hen for stock, which was probably the best stock I've ever made!

      1 Reply
      1. re: nofunlatte

        Me three. I cooked a very old laying hen, using long, slow, moist cooking, and the meat was still tough and stringy. Use it to make stock and use Sparrowgrass' great tip to use the meat at dog food.

      2. Thanks for all of the replies. Unfortunately I don't have a pressure cooker but I assume I can still make a decent stock?

        1 Reply
        1. re: pushbinlou

          As long as you have a big pot, you can make stock--just takes time. I don't have a pressure cooker either.