Please tell me it ain’t so.
That is a complete waste of the bones!In the past, although some roosters might have been raised for roasters, most chicken served came from retired hens.
EDIT: Now that we have raised our own heritage breed birds, I’ve learned that there is a big difference between retired factory hens and free range (or even paddocked) older chickens. My two year old roosters cook up tender and delicious in about three hours. The meat is rich and delicious, but there is not much of it.
Aren’t they monsters?
That’s my HUGE roaster, the one that fits monster turkeys. The weird thing about these chickens, though, was not how massive they were, but how stubby their legs were. I wonder if there was something wrong with the hens, because the legs were cut off so short.
(EDIT: Now that I have chickens, I will assume that these chickens had Bumblefoot, which is a local infection that causes swelling in the feet, or something similar.)
Oh, and the neck and organs are tucked in the bottom of the pan.
Ah hah, chicken!
After roasting at 300F for about an hour, I could lift these things by their stubby legs and shake them around.
Not a bit of give to them.
This is when I should mention that now, after an hour of slow roasting, there’s some nice juice forming in the bottom of the pan. Now I’m going to start basting the birds. I just use a ladle to scoop up some juice and pour it over the birds.
Two hours. There’s more and more juice. I’m basting about every thirty minutes.
At three hours, I did something weird:
Now look at these golden girls. Beautiful, aren’t they? Tough as old shoe leather, though, and they’ve been cooking all day!
At this point, I put the lid on the roaster and put it back in the oven – at 200F now – for a couple of hours.
Cooking stewing hens is something best done on a wood stove. You can do it in a crockpot, but the skin won’t brown like this.
And now … even though my camera is terrible … what you’re looking at is fork tender, incredibly rich-tasting chicken breast. Slightly dry, yes, but the flavor wanted to kick a hole through the top of my head! At the bottom of the roaster is a whole bunch of chicken broth that looks as though I added gravy browner.
Which I didn’t.
Tomorrow, we’re going to enjoy some chicken sandwiches for lunch. Then I’ll rip all the meat of the golden girls’ bones and see what we have.