The saying, "He's a Tough Old Bird" came from the Old-Fashioned Stewing Hen. The very rich, flavorful broth from these "yard birds" of our grandma's time period was the main ingredient that cured whatever sickness you came down with. Nutrient dense foods were their medicine!
Chickens were raised mainly for egg production. Chicken meat was hardly ever a main dish like Beef and Pork.
Her prize laying hens, when they grew to be 2-3 years old and stopped being productive egg layers, were then butchered for the little bit of meat that was on the bones and the amazing broth that she could make for her family.
Cook them Low & Slow. Use a Slow Cooker, a Crock Pot for at least 8 hours, or cook submerged in water on top of the stove and simmer in a stock pot for 18-24 hours, or cook in a pressure cooker like an Instant Pot.
Season the Stewing Hen with carrots, celery, onions, garlic cloves, and herbs of your choice. After slow cooking with lots of liquid, remove all the bones and seasonings and place on a pan to cool. Once cooled, pick the meat off the bones and use in various recipes. Strain the broth and place in the fridge. Once cooled you can scrape off the fat if you would like or leave it in for an amazing, healthy, bone broth.
It was falsely claimed that Beef was bad for us to consume, so Chicken became the only "healthy" meat to eat. The Cornish Cross meat broiler was created to fill this growing need for more chicken meat.
Stewing Hens have spent many years wondering around the pastured, scratching and foraging. This has made their muscles and bones very strong. Their connective tissues, bones, and meat are rich in minerals and have higher levels of Vitamin A, E, and Omega Fatty Acids.
Stewing Hens make the most flavorful, nutrient dense broth for soups and stews or for just drinking. You can use the meat for Chicken Salad, in Tacos, Pot Pie, and Casseroles.
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