stewing freshly killed hen

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by wantsomechicks, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. wantsomechicks

    wantsomechicks In the Brooder

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    We are planning to cull and eat one of our 18 month hens. DH is about to do the deed. He is planning to skin it. We want to turn it into soup. Does the chicken have to rest after slaughter before stewing? If so, how long? How long should it simmer when cooking? Do I put the whole carcass in a pot?
    Thanks!!
     
  2. Parront

    Parront Crowing

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    I would rest it in the frig for a couple of days, even for stewing. You do not need skin to make soup, some do not like the fat that is in the skin. It would cook faster if you cut it into pieces. I like to use a crock pot on low for ~8 hours, like you would cook any tough piece of meat like chuck roast or shanks. Test it, when it is easy to get off the bones, it's dinner time! I admit my favorite way to cook an older chicken is the pressure cooker -- done in 20 minutes.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    It depends some on how you cook it. When I use older chickens to make broth I freeze it immediately after butchering and put it in the crock pot without thawing it, breaking all the rules. I cook it on low for anything from 14 to 20 hours. The meat is fine to use.

    If you are not going to cook it that long or slow, aging it is a great idea. The purpose of aging is to get it past rigor mortis. A short time after it dies, the meat gets stiff. You age it in the fridge or an ice chest long enough for rigor mortis to pass. Two days should be enough but test it. Wiggle a leg. it should be really limp. If it is stiff at all give it more time.

    I'd cut it into serving pieces, that way it fits in the pot easier and I think serves easier. You can get different opinions on how long to cook it. You never want it to come to a full roiling boil, a slow simmer is best. I like to cook it longer than the minimum, I think you get some nice flavor and stuff from the bones that way. I'd cook it at least 6 hours and would personally prefer 8 but as but as far as cooking the meat you can get by with a lot less.
     
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  4. Mosey2003

    Mosey2003 Crowing

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    If you kill it well, work fast, and don't get it cold, you can cook it immediately. But you really gotta move. If you give it time to stiffen up, you really need to let it rest a few days in the fridge before cooking.
     
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  5. wantsomechicks

    wantsomechicks In the Brooder

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    Thanks for the help/advice everyone. Aside from feeling sad about having to dispatch the hen, it went pretty well. There may even be some meaties in our future once we move to a place with a bigger yard.

    Right now it's resting in the fridge. I may try the slow cook route tomorrow. Of course, I've been tempted by the Instapot, so maybe it's time to take the plunge and buy a pressure cooker. I live at 7500 feet, so I've wondered how well they work at that altitude.
     
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

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    Don't cook it today. That would be a mistake as it's rigor stiff. The muscle needs to relax for a few more days or all that work is for not. If cooked immediately after dispatch meat is fine, otherwise you need to let it rest.

    Cheap crock pots work very well for older birds. I see no reason for pressure cookers. You can also simple start it in the stew pot. The trick with those, and where most people mess up, is don't let it boil. Boiling of meat is the easiest way to ruin it. Slow simmer at best, steaming to few small bubbles around edge of pot. Slow cook. Once cooked pull out the bird and add the veggies to stock, raise heat. Pull meat off the bird while veggies are cooking, put greens in last few minutes then put meat back in. Voila! Big batch of stew.

    If using rice it can be cooked in stock and veggies, time it to be cooked when stew is done and adding chicken back in. I like egg noodle so cook them separate, pull some stock out of pot to cook in then strain back into when done. Keep noodles separate from stew until ready to eat each serving or it just turns to mush.
     
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  7. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

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    Of course that was stew. Chicken and dumplings is really good too. Same gig, cook the bird, make stock, use seasoning and whatever in pot as you make the stock and simmer at best the bird. You'll have a lot of stock. Use the meat and some stock to make the gravy.

    Quartering the bird makes it so you can use less water to cook. Results in even richer stock and usable volume before it goes bad. If stock isn't going to be used in week or two it should be canned when made. I don't use a pressure cooker anymore so don't can norm stock- just make it dense/richer and use it in few dishes.
     
  8. wantsomechicks

    wantsomechicks In the Brooder

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    Thanks again for the info. Just want to say that the soup turned out really great. Even my kids (who were pretty sad about having to dispatch the hen) enjoyed it. I definitely will try dumplings next time, I've never had them and they sound delish.
     
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