Spent Hen Stock

By December 9, 2015

Every Amish family I know has their own laying hens for fresh eggs. When these hens no longer lay eggs, they are known as stewing chickens or soup birds or spent hens. I’ve asked several Amish families what they do with their spent hens. Each one of them makes soup or chicken stock to eat fresh or to can.
These chickens make exceptional stock and soup because of their age. As they get older,the bones and meat have more flavor.

 1 Spent Hen, or Stewing Chicken
 Aromatics: carrots, onions, celery, garlic, chard
 Water
 Salt
Using a Pressure Cooker
1

In a pressure cooker, add about 3‐4 cups of water. Place your chicken and some vegetables in the pot. Good vegetables are onions, shallots, carrots, and celery. Close the lid and bring the pressure cooker up to pressure.

2

Once it reaches pressure, let it cook for approximately 20‐25 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to subside. When you open the pot, you should have essentially a steamed chicken and a very condensed broth beneath it. This condensed stock can be frozen in ice cube trays or canned (using a pressure canner).

Using a Stock Pot:
3

In a large stockpot, bring enough water to boil that it will cover the entire chicken. As the water is heating, cut up your vegetables: carrots, onions, shallots, celery, and even chard. These will add flavor to the stock.

4

Salt the water and place the whole chicken in the boiling water. Cook the chicken at a simmer/soft boil until it is very tender. Essentially, you want to cook it until it falls apart when you try to remove it. This will be a few hours or more.

5

Remove the chicken from the pot. Let it cool to the touch and remove the meat from the bones. Cut or shred the meat into the sizes you want in your soup.

6

With the stock, you have two options. Some folks like to pour the stock through a strainer to remove the vegetables, and then add fresh vegetables back in and cook them to the desired tenderness.

7

The other options is to just keep the vegetables you have in there and add the chicken back to it. If this is your option, you may want to consider adding some chunks of potato earlier on to make it a more filling soup.

8

Add the meat back into the stock, and season to taste and serve over a bowl of cooked noodles.

Ingredients

 1 Spent Hen, or Stewing Chicken
 Aromatics: carrots, onions, celery, garlic, chard
 Water
 Salt

Directions

Using a Pressure Cooker
1

In a pressure cooker, add about 3‐4 cups of water. Place your chicken and some vegetables in the pot. Good vegetables are onions, shallots, carrots, and celery. Close the lid and bring the pressure cooker up to pressure.

2

Once it reaches pressure, let it cook for approximately 20‐25 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to subside. When you open the pot, you should have essentially a steamed chicken and a very condensed broth beneath it. This condensed stock can be frozen in ice cube trays or canned (using a pressure canner).

Using a Stock Pot:
3

In a large stockpot, bring enough water to boil that it will cover the entire chicken. As the water is heating, cut up your vegetables: carrots, onions, shallots, celery, and even chard. These will add flavor to the stock.

4

Salt the water and place the whole chicken in the boiling water. Cook the chicken at a simmer/soft boil until it is very tender. Essentially, you want to cook it until it falls apart when you try to remove it. This will be a few hours or more.

5

Remove the chicken from the pot. Let it cool to the touch and remove the meat from the bones. Cut or shred the meat into the sizes you want in your soup.

6

With the stock, you have two options. Some folks like to pour the stock through a strainer to remove the vegetables, and then add fresh vegetables back in and cook them to the desired tenderness.

7

The other options is to just keep the vegetables you have in there and add the chicken back to it. If this is your option, you may want to consider adding some chunks of potato earlier on to make it a more filling soup.

8

Add the meat back into the stock, and season to taste and serve over a bowl of cooked noodles.

Spent Hen Stock

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