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Baking Hen? That’s like a Roasting Hen, right?

Apparently, basting is important. (Two baking hens made by On the Range.)

As it turns out I am not the most accomplished chef on this planet. Some days I dream I am, but then reality hits me over the head with a two-by-four, or in this case, a Baking Hen.

We were gifted a Baking Hen and I stupidly assumed that I could grill it just like a regular chicken. Think again. Apparently, it needs to be moist-cooked, not dry-cooked. My family and I learned this very valuable lesson when we sat down to a really tough bird that looked gorgeous but was completely inedible.

What is the brilliant chef to do? Take stock of the situation and then make stock.

Yep, I really said that.

Don’t let stocks scare you off. I use to be terrified of making my own stock but after throwing carcass after carcass way after Thanksgiving I discovered my grandmother’s turkey soup recipe. While the recipe itself is saved for only the lucky few, I did learn the joy of making my own stock from that recipe.

Now days when I have a carcass left over (or a whole bird as tonight’s dinner demonstrates) I make stock.

There really is no recipe. Simply take the carcass, throw it in a pot. Add whatever vegetables (or scraps) you have on hand and herbs, garlic, etc.

Cook on high heat until you begin to see bubbles break the surface. Then turn the heat down to medium. Skim the scum from the stock with a spoon or fine mesh strainer every 10 to 15 minutes for the first hour of cooking and twice each hour for the next 2 hours. Add hot water as needed to keep bones and vegetables submerged. Simmer uncovered for 6 to 8 hours.

Strain stock through a fine mesh strainer into another large stockpot or heatproof container discarding the solids. Cool immediately in large cooler of ice or a sink full of ice water to below 40 degrees. Place in refrigerator overnight. Remove solidified fat from surface of liquid and store in container with lid in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days or in freezer for up to 3 months. Prior to use, bring to boil for 2 minutes. Use as a base for soups and sauces.

(Editor’s Note: At Forkful, we love stock! Find more recipes and ideas here and here.)

One Response to Baking Hen? That’s like a Roasting Hen, right?

  1. [...] Note: Frugal Forkfullers love stock! Maggie turns a “baking hen” into chicken broth and Jacob goes step-by-step with chicken and rabbit [...]

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