The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

How to cook an old chicken

Chicken in the grassToday's experiment in simplicity was cooking an old rooster.  The neighbor of our chicken-slaughtering buddies asked them if they'd be willing to kill and dress two of his old roosters for him, but when the neighbor came back and saw what the dressed chickens looked like --- all legs and no breast --- he said no thanks and left the roosters behind.  Mark and I are always up for a challenge, so we took one home to cook.

I did some extensive web searching last night, looking for some advice on how to cook old roosters.  Besides "Coq au vin", which looked like it'd take me hours of hard work to prepare, there didn't seem to be many choices except hints to cook it slow and long.  So I decided to make up my own chicken stew, basically pretending I was making chicken stock and then throwing in some extra veggies at the end. 

Peering henAt 8:30 am, I put the whole rooster in a pot of water with a few chopped onions and garlic and some parsley and thyme out of the garden.  (I've found that parsley can be substitued for celery to good effect in nearly all recipes and is much easier to grow!)  Then I slowly simmered the budding stew for about eight hours. 

By then, the meat was falling off the bones and I was able to strain out the solids and then remove the hard bits easily.  I threw all of the meat back into the juices, added carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes and simmered about half an hour until they were soft.  Then I turned off the heat and threw in some frozen corn and peas from this summer.  A bit of salt and pepper and the stew was done!  A delicious meal for eight out of free ingredients --- our girls wish we weren't quite so empowered.

Farmstead Feast

Read other posts about killing and eating your own chickens:

Our chicken innovations have also included a homemade chicken waterer.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I bought some stew chickens at a good price and started looking online for how to cook them... guess whose blog came up as the first hit on Google? Nice! Thanks for the tips. :)
Comment by Eliza @ Appalachian Feet Fri May 13 16:24:15 2011
I think it's nearly a lost art. I'm a bit shocked that my ramblings made it so high in the rankings. :-)
Comment by anna Fri May 13 18:34:51 2011
Thank you so much for the recipe for chicken stew. I too saw the one for "Coq au vin" and said "No way!" lol We have had chickens before but never to eat. Now my roosters are taking over the yard plus they are being gotten by the neighborhood fox. I Thought I would rather eat them instead. Processing day is set for next Saturday.
Comment by Pat W from SC Mon Nov 10 15:47:12 2014

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