Back when our cockerel attacked our daughter we tried a recipe from “The Forgotten Skills of Cooking” cookbook for our first ever home-grown chicken meat dish.
By the way, this cookbook is a must-have for any family farm! I just recently bought it after borrowing it from the library and falling in love with it.
We had never butchered a chicken before so we made the rookie mistake of cooking the cockerel the same day we butchered him. The flavor was great but the texture was pretty tough and stringy. I blogged it here.
A kind reader shared a tip with me when I posted about it: soak the bird in cool salt water for 1-3 days in the fridge before cooking it. We were looking forward to giving it another try at some point.
We kept Honey, our 5-year-old hen, through the spring and summer hoping she would go broody and hatch some of our breeding eggs for us. She laid us a shell-less egg every couple of weeks and didn’t even think of going broody. So we knew it was coming time to send her to the crockpot, while she was still pretty meaty and healthy.
So this week was it. We wanted to have a special meal Sunday night to kick-off the school year, which started Monday. So we butchered Honey last Thursday, let the meat soak in salt water in the fridge until Sunday morning, and then cooked it for dinner.
The recipe says to do it in a pot for about 2 hours but I thought we would get better texture if we slow cooked it on low in the crockpot all day long. I put it in at 9am and cooked until 5pm.
So how did it turn out?
Not only was the sauce SO yummy, but the texture of the meat was great. I would never have guessed old hen. It was so wonderful. The kids asked for seconds…and thirds…and even some fourths! It was a hit and will probably become a family favorite.
And then I used the carcass to make chicken stock and I will be canning that mid-week in my pressure canner (with my new reusable canning lids – first time trying them in the pressure canner!). Nothing wasted from this laying hen. Eggs, then meat, then stock. Love it when something serves its purpose so well!