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Old 11-02-2009, 11:41 AM   #1
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Rescuing a ruined chicken?

Hi, all - I'm hoping someone can give me some tips here. Here's the problem: I bought a bunch of chickens from a local farmer, including some that he identified as "stewing chickens." These were birds that had been laying hens but were no longer productive. The farmer said "stewing chickens" were pretty tough but would work really well in slow-cooking methods - soups, stews, anything in a slow cooker, etc. Well, I didn't listen and picked the wrong cooking method: chicken-in-a-pot. The results were pretty disastrous, and now I've got this almost-whole cooked chicken that is really too tough to eat. I'd like to use it, somehow. What can I do with it? I'm hoping for a stew or soup, at this point. I really regret disregarding the farmer's advice and hate to waste this bird. Thanks in advance for any advice you can send my way!


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Old 11-02-2009, 11:45 AM   #2
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Tough old birds need to be cooked low and slow for a long period of time to overcome that toughness. I'm not sure how long you cooked it, but if you cut up the cooked meat and made a stew, soup, pot pie, etc., cook it a little longer and you should be OK.

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Old 11-02-2009, 11:55 AM   #3
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I guess my confusion is: sometimes long cooking = tender, fall-off-the-bone meat, and sometimes long cooking = overcooked, tough-as-nails meat. This chicken is fully cooked (and rubbery as anything!). If I cut it up and toss it in the slow cooker to make a stew, will the meat toughen further or will I magically reverse the damage I've already done to the poor bird?
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Old 11-02-2009, 12:46 PM   #4
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Tossing it in a pot to make a stew from it shouldn't toughen it ... but it's not going to magically turn into melt-in-your mouth tender, either. But then, an old stewing hen is not going to be as tender as a young bird - which is why they are good for stewing (long slow cooking) and young birds might fall apart in the same recipe.

You could also run it through the meat grinder or food processor and make a great chicken salad spread or some other chicken recipe that would use minced (ground) chicken.

These would be great to use for Coq au Vin - which is just what the old French farmer had in mind to make use of a tough old bird past it's prime.

Sometimes things get tough from either too short or too long cooking based on the method used, moist or dry heat, and how high the heat.
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:03 PM   #5
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You could shred it and make pulled BBQ chicken and I think the chicken salad idea is perfect. Let us know what you did!
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:47 PM   #6
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If you have a pressure cooker, you might add some stock or broth and cook it for 15 or 20 minutes. it might make the meat more tender without a loss of too much moisture. If it's 'shreddable' make burritos, chicken salad or add to a stew.
If it's not salvageable, and you have a dog - he/she would love it added to their dry food.
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Old 11-03-2009, 08:28 AM   #7
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make puree of this chicken in food processor,add cooked mashed potatoes,add salt,pepper,some soya sauce,lemon juice,finely diced onion,finely chopped parsley,form the mixture into 3 inch patties,dip in egg wash,bread crumbs(you could also double dip to make it extra crispy on the outside),shallow fry in oil.And voila!!! you've got some delicious chicken potato patties.Serve with any kind of sauce you like!
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Old 11-03-2009, 08:32 AM   #8
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You could either simmer the heck out it and just save the liquid...
but, I'll second (or third?) the idea of grinding it and using it as some kind of forcemeat, to use in a spread, stuffing, pate, terrine, patties, etc.

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Old 11-03-2009, 09:38 AM   #9
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De-bone, cross cut against the grain with scissors or sheers, and finish with long simmering chicken and dumplings.
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Old 11-03-2009, 10:57 AM   #10
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I have a really wonderful Chicken Terrine recipe I might be able to dig up if you want....

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chicken, stewing chicken

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