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How to cook a fowl tips needed

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I am about to butcher some of my old layers. I have contacted some of the people that buy my eggs and they are all very eager to try a fowl.  I have cooked mine by using a cast iron dutch oven and steam bake the hen on high (400degrees) with about a cup of water at bottom until I can smell it cooking.  Then I lower heat to 325 and slow bake and check water at bottom of dutch oven.  When cooked I then remove the meat and use the carcass and other bones and neck to make broth.  I use the meat and some of the broth for chicken pie and chicken & rice and risottos.  I usually break the hen in two to speed up cooking since the legs are dryer and tougher than the breast. 

Does anyone else have other tips or ideas that I can include in a handout to my customers on how to prepare their fowl?  I have found that the old hens need more time and thought in preparing them but the rewards are wonderful. Kim

post #2 of 5

The method you wrote out is a very good way to do it.  You could give an alternate to that basic way by  cutting the bird into frying pieces, brown on both sides in a little hot oil, pour off any excess grease and put the pieces back into the pot, put a cup or two of water (or better a cup or two of wine), cover and simmer on top of the stove or bake in the oven until tender.

I've got a rooster that I'm going to give the full blown, Julia Child, Coq au Vin treatment to next week.

The crock pot is very popular or you can just stew them in a big pot until tender.  I think roasting or frying at high heat before simmering gives another delicious layer of flavor.

Here is another idea that just popped into my mind, very popular with the turkey hunters in this area and should work with a big hen.  Bone out the breast, cut into thick slices and pound out with a meat mallet, batter and fry.  This would be a good way to get two completely different meals out of one bird.

post #3 of 5

We used to always refer to these older gals/roosters as "stewing chickens" 'cuz it does take them a bit to become tender.  Not everyone's got a dutch oven tho', so maybe just s-l-o-w cooking it on the stove or in a crock pot with the usual stewing fixings and making chicken 'n' dumplings, or chicken pot pie, or chicken 'n' noodle soup, etc.

Married SAHM with 2 sons (1 grown, 1 in elementary school), former Canine Companions for Independence puppy raiser (www.cci.org), 1 Yellow Lab, 2 cats, 1 pet rat, 2 African-drawf frogs, and a menagerie of organically raised/fed chickens - breeds include Iowa Blues, Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, Easter Eggers, Australorps, White Leghorns, Golden Laced Wyandotts, Buff Orpingtons, and 1 Frizzle.
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Married SAHM with 2 sons (1 grown, 1 in elementary school), former Canine Companions for Independence puppy raiser (www.cci.org), 1 Yellow Lab, 2 cats, 1 pet rat, 2 African-drawf frogs, and a menagerie of organically raised/fed chickens - breeds include Iowa Blues, Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, Easter Eggers, Australorps, White Leghorns, Golden Laced Wyandotts, Buff Orpingtons, and 1 Frizzle.
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post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the ideas.  I'm writing up a tutorial on how to cook the hens.  I want my customers to appreciate how good backyard poultry can taste.  I'm always suggesting ways to cook w/ the eggs I sell them.  I think fowl takes some experience to learn how to cook it properly but it's so good.. I love risotto and the broth from the oldgirls makes the best tasting risottos.

post #5 of 5

Grandmas Chicken Gumbo
Make a dark roux with 2 cups of flour and about 1 cup of oil.
(You can buy ready made roux but homemade is the best, if you want to make you own but don't know how...Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the oil and flour into a 5 to 6-quart cast iron Dutch oven and whisk together to combine. Place on the middle shelf of the oven, uncovered, and bake for 1 1/2 hours, whisking 2 to 3 times throughout the cooking process.)

1 gallon of water
1 large hen (an old hen makes the best gumbo)
6 chicken bullion cubes
1 pound of good smoked sausage (Cut into bite size pieces)
1 large onion (Chopped)
1 bell pepper (Chopped)
2 stalks celery (Chopped)
3 tablespoons liquid smoke (leave this out if using smoked meat)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 bunch green onions (chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the chicken in half and place it in a large stockpot with the water and the rest of the ingredients. Simmer uncovered for a couple of hours, or until chicken is tender, remove the chicken from the pot place it in a bowl and put it in the refrigerator to cool. Turn the fire off under the pot, allow to sit while chicken is cooling, all the fat will rise to the top.

With a large spoon skim fat off the top of the gumbo.

Pick the chicken off the bone and add it back to the pot and heat it through; season with salt and pepper to taste.

You can substitute just about anything for the chicken. Guinea foul and wild game works very well, squirrels, ducks, geese, rabbits, turkey, quail, pheasant, ect. Just make sure to simmer it long enough to get it tender.

Serve over rice in soup bowls.
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t36/BettyR_139/ChickenGumbo003.jpg

If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it. 
Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once!
A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
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If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it. 
Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once!
A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
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