Cooking an old hen

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Cooking an old hen

Postby greenbean » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:41 pm

Hello, I have an old hen stewing away just now, 6/7 years old and had stopped laying about a year ago, making coq-au-vin and she is now 6 hours into cooking very slowly in the bottom of an Aga but still seems very tough and also there is a massive amount of fat, comes to a lot of us in old age I guess. Has anyone got any ideas for turning old hens into edible meals? I have two others that are unfortunately facing the same treatment and I would like to make the most of them. The coq-au-vin may be great once cooked for longer and the fat taken off, but any other ideas would be most welcome. Cheers.
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Re: Cooking an old hen

Postby The Riff-Raff Element » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:44 pm

How long did you leave between slaughter & cooking? An old chicken will benefit from being allowed to mature a while to allow for a bit of tenderising. For one that old, I'd store it for about four days in the warmest part of the fridge before attempting to cook it and even then I'd marinade for a good 12 hours before cooking. Cook at a lowish temperature - 130°C to slow down the cooking process - too hot and the proteins in the muscles can denature too quickly and toughen. I have found that adding salt early seems to lengthen the cooking time, so perhaps add this at the end.
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Re: Cooking an old hen

Postby greenbean » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:03 pm

Hi Jon, Hen slaughtered on Saturday and popped in casserole this morning (Tuesday), kept in cold part of fridge and I added salt at beginning, all told I wish I had posted on here before cooking her, bless her, we'll keep her in the oven for a few hours more. Thanks for your advice Jon will use it for the next hen
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Re: Cooking an old hen

Postby oldjerry » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:33 pm

I don't eat poultry,but I've raised and killed/plucked and sold thousands.My old Dad ,bless him,used to love old 'boiling hens',he either boiled them in the pressure cooker,or roasted them in something he called a 'chicken brick', a sort of clay thing,anyhow the rest of the family used to think they were really good.
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Re: Cooking an old hen

Postby greenbean » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:24 am

Thanks Oldjerry, pressure cooker sounds like a good idea, I've heard of a chicken brick too.
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Re: Cooking an old hen

Postby Mrs Moustoir » Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:54 pm

Just wondered....is she still in the oven? :iconbiggrin:
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Re: Cooking an old hen

Postby greenbean » Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:15 pm

Ha ha, no she is out, not tried her yet, but she had a good 10 hours stewing!
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Re: Cooking an old hen

Postby red » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:34 pm

we cook them overnight in water in the rayburn at about 120 - so a good 10 hours or so. then I use the meat to make pie and the stock (fat strained off) is reduced and used to make the sauce surrounding the meat.
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Re: Cooking an old hen

Postby Mrs Moustoir » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:57 pm

greenbean wrote:Ha ha, no she is out, not tried her yet, but she had a good 10 hours stewing!


Glad to hear it. Bon appetit!
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Re: Cooking an old hen

Postby wabbit955 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:03 pm

keep the fat and roast your potatoes in it
almost as good as goose fat
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Re: Cooking an old hen

Postby greenbean » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:47 pm

Thank you all so much for those tips. will try those, we have two more 6 year old birds that have had 18 months without an egg and time has come, love the fat tip, cheers.
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Re: Cooking an old hen

Postby darkbrowneggs » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:08 pm

I have cooked hens, but generally up to a couple of years old max.

Many years ago someone gave me two ancient hens they didnt want to eat. Plucked them, then hung for a few days, then dressed and slow cooked for about 8 hours tried them but tough, then slowcooked again for about 8 hours, tried again, then roast and tried again, then slowcooked again for another day...... and my teeth still bounced back off meat that was like india rubber

Can't remember if the dog could manage it, but it was a lab so probably gave it his best shot. :lol:
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Re: Cooking an old hen

Postby greenbean » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:47 pm

LOL, Thank you darkbrowneggs, I feel that as we have had the hens for so long we should give them a respectful and proper ending, I think if I can borrow a pressure cooker I will try that method, we'll see. Cheers x
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Re: Cooking an old hen

Postby Annemieke » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:52 pm

What about marinading overnight? A marinade needs to have salt, acid (vinegar, lemon or wine), pepper and oil: just make something up, and add nice herbs or spices. That should tenderize any tough meat.
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Re: Cooking an old hen

Postby Annemieke » Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:40 pm

As to all this chicken fat: I just happened upon a webpage (http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/ ... more-11062) telling me how absolutely wonderful chicken fat is to cook with, and also who should, and should not use it. Sounds sensible.
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