Tuesday, October 24, is the last chicken CSA share delivery of the 2017 season. This delivery will include a stew hen. Here is how Dancing Hen Farm cooks stew hens.
This is the last chicken share delivery of the season, so everyone is getting a bonus chicken. A stew hen. Stew hens real value is in the nutritious, rich broth they produce when cooked down.
There are many ways to cook a hen. Here is Dancing Hen Farm's rendition.
Placed a thawed stewing hen (cut up, if you would like) in a large stock pot with enough cold water to cover the bird and 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar. Allow the chicken to sit in the cold water for 30 mins to an hour. Next, add to the pot, a large quartered onion, 2-3 coarsely chopped carrots, several stalks of chopped celery (include the leaves!), a few cloves of garlic, a bunch of fresh parsley (if available) and some thyme. Note that the vinegar does not change the taste of the broth, but, helps extract minerals from the bones, increasing the nutrient content of your broth.
Bring the pot to a boil and carefully skim off any foam that rises to the surface of the pot. Turn the heat down and allow pot to slowly simmer for 10 or 12 hours. After simmering, allow pot to cool slightly and pour contents through a fine strainer or cheese cloth. Once the bones and meat have cooled enough to handle, remove meat from the bones. Discard the cooked vegetables and cleaned bones. Allow broth to cool and skim off any excess fat. Broth can be used for soups or stews or in any recipe calling for chicken broth. Broth will keep in jars in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for several months.
Stewing hens tend not to be very meaty, so don't be surprised if you end up with a small amount meat. The meat can be added back to the broth for soups or stews or saved and used for chicken salad, tacos, etc.