eating an older bird
December 26, 2012 7:02 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to cook an older chicken? Roasted?

Our 14 month old chook that isn't laying has to go. I haven't killed and butchered a chicken in a long time, and always previously under parental supervision, but I'm giving it a go via this link, so will shortly have one whole chook to cook. At 14 months old completely free range I expect the flavour to be much stronger, which is fine, but I'm worried how tough she'll be? What's the best way to cook a bird this old?
posted by wilful to Food & Drink (10 answers total)
Oh I found a recipe finally, after quite a bit of looking.
posted by wilful at 7:05 PM on December 26, 2012

soup or braised. Its not a coq, but coq au vin would be perfect.
posted by JPD at 7:05 PM on December 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

Braise or casserole, long slow and low. This is what coq au vin is meant for, and it's a fitting end.
posted by holgate at 7:06 PM on December 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

Yep - stew that jawn! I'm jealous - old birds have great flavor, but they need to be braised/stewed into submission.
posted by julthumbscrew at 7:14 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I came in here to suggest coq au vin, because that's why the recipe exists — an old cock isn't the most tender, and it supposedly works better with a more sinewy bird than a younger roaster/broiler.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:25 PM on December 26, 2012

I'd say a chicken pot au feu, but I'm not seeing a recipe that I recognize in a quick search.

Search Julia Childs and Jacques Pepin, maybe? Don't add water, steam all the liquids out of the bird and the root vegetables and aromatics. Don't use squash or tomatoes or anything else that doesn't grow underground and isn't celery or leaks. Use one of those anti-burn meshes or plates at the bottom of a big tall pot. Simmer forever, then remove the bird meat and broth and discard the vegetables. A sprig of tarragon, some peppercorns, a bay leaf will do for now, add other seasonings to whatever you make with the chicken and broth. Put the strained liquids in the fridge until the fat cools on top and remove that.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:54 PM on December 26, 2012

Kadin2048 is spot on, coq au vin is a recipe where an old bird is best. My favorite version is Alton Brown's.
posted by shoesietart at 8:27 PM on December 26, 2012

Definitely not roasted, that bird will be tough and dry as a rabbit. Low and slow is the way to go. Coq au vin, vindaloo would be great, anything that takes hours and you'll be set. :)
posted by smoke at 12:25 AM on December 27, 2012

My favorite way to cook a stewing hen is chicken and dumplings.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 3:59 AM on December 27, 2012

This is an excellent recipe (you may need google-translate). Over time, I've adapted it so much I forgot the original, but recently I went back to the source, and it is so good, specially with older meat.

The best version I ever made was on a holiday in Belgium with the in-laws. Husband, MIL, SIL etc all went walking with the babies while FIL and I were responsible for the lunch. In the supermarket, we found a huge (old) chicken, and went on to find all the other ingredients and good wine. At the rented apartment, we had fun cooking with hardly any utensils. And the resulting lunch was a pure "Babette" experience. Never before and never again.

It also had the effect of conciling FIL and me. He was a former hitler-jugend and I am part Jewish. But we both loved food, unlike just about everyone else in the family...
posted by mumimor at 2:56 PM on December 27, 2012

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