from Chez Nous Farms
Poultry that is processed at older than 1 year are considered a stew hen, soup bird or “fowl. These birds make for excellent eating, the best broth and chicken to use for any of your recipes. We have loads of golden broth in the freezer and I always have some bags of frozen chicken meat to pull out for quesidillas or soup etc… The trick is in cooking as this meat requires a long and slow cooking time and lots of moisture. According to Gina Bisco from the article Rediscovering Traditional Meats from Historic Chicken Breeds, it is important to keep temperature below 180 F. When the temperature goes over 180 F the protein fibers toughen. Therefore, after the initial boil to bring up foam I never let the pot boil and keep to a simmer.
Chicken Noodle soup
(for the broth)
1 stewing hen
4-5 garlic cloves
1-2 large onion
4-5 celery stalks with leaves
(for the soup)
reserved chicken diced up
1-Put chicken (or many chickens and any reserved bones if you are making a large batch of broth) in a pot then just cover with cold water.
2- Bring to a low boil and then simmer
3- Skim off foam that will surface
4. Add all other broth ingredients (or you can add this later when you remove the chicken meat from the bones..it’s up to you)(whatever you have it’s good to save less than perfect veggies like carrot ends or inedible celery parts etc…in fridge to use- i don’t even peel my onion!).
5- Simmer. What is important to know here is that: when stewing, the water should not be allowed to boil, but should be kept at a simmer temperature, 180 F or less and the meat should be removed when ready (the breast meat will be best (especially good for sandwiches) if it is removed as soon as it is done, which may be a couple of hours before the dark meat is done .
It will seem stiff for quite a while! I cook mine about 8 hrs…( but I always make huge batches so adjust time) make sure there is enough water for all meat to be submerged-adding more water at times if necessary.
Like I said above the breast is always ready before the rest and it’s best to remove it first and cook the dark meat a little longer but i usually forget and it’s all good anyways! To be honest, it comes apart alot easier if you wait till the meat is falling off the bones…yes the meat is a little drier but for the most part it will be added to dishes and this will not be noticeable.
6. Remove meat and put bones back into pot. (and vggies if you decided to wait until now)
7. Cook down a little more. You can also cook for another 1/2 day or overnight and add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to extract the minerals from the bones giving you the most nutrition. Strain and then again with a cheese cloth for clear broth.
We use this chicken for nachos, sandwiches, quesidillas, hot chicken sandwiches, pasta etc…
For soup- cook cut up veggies in olive oil or a little broth. Add some broth (you should have a good size of extra broth to freeze). Boil noodles add chicken and parsley salt and pepper to taste.