This page may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link. This post explains how to cook a Stewing Hen!
What Is a Stewing Hen?
The first time I saw a stewing hen was in the frozen section of my local Asian market. I was intrigued because I had never seen one before.
A stewing hen is a hen that is unable to produce eggs much anymore, or an egg layer that has been retired. Due to this, farmers normally have to cull them to make way for new egg layers. Using a stewing hen in cooking is a way to honor the entire life cycle of the bird, which I absolutely love.
What Is The Best Way To Cook A Stewing Hen?
The stewing hen is very lean and has a lot of connective tissue. Therefore, they require a long and slow cooking process to make them tender. So, the best way to cook a stewing hen is in your crockpot or slow cooker!
It really couldn't be simpler! Place the stewing hen in a crockpot and add some cut up celery, carrots, onion, garlic cloves and peppercorns. Cover with water, then cook on a low setting for 12 hours. Mostly hands off, and you will have an AMAZING broth and tender meat in the end!
Stewing Hen Broth
This resulting broth from cooking the stewing hen in the crockpot for so many hours is RICH and flavorful. Strain the solids from the liquid after cooking to obtain this amazing broth.
If you watch this video, I compare a broth from a stewing hen vs a broth from a chicken. Note the difference in color!
This broth can be used for the most delicious soups and stews!
Stewing Hen Meat
The meat from the stewing hen is lovely and tender after 12 hours of cooking in the crockpot. Trying to roast a stewing hen will result in tough as anything meat so you don't want to go there! Crockpot is definitely the way to go!
You can use this lovely and tender meat for any number of dishes. 🙂
Why Should You Bother With A Stewing Hen?
It's totally worth bringing a stewing hen home and working with it! Here are the reasons...
- You honor this animal who has worked so hard to produce eggs for us to enjoy. I'm so happy that they are sold on the market for us to honor them by using them up completely and not letting anything go to waste. 🙂
- They produce the most INCREDIBLE flavored broth that you can use for soups and stews...just like the name implies!
- They are not expensive, and you can enjoy budget friendly meals by utilizing the stewing hen.
- After cooking them properly (low and slow), you will have a most tender and delicious meat from the stewing hen that you can use in any number of dishes that require chicken/meat.
What I Created With My Stewing Hen Broth and Meat
I decided to use this most flavorful stewing hen broth and meat in a Chicken and Wild Rice Soup which was AMAZING!
Basically all I did was add the broth to a saucepan, along with some wild rice. Bring to the boil, and simmer until the wild rice is cooked. Add some cut up veggies...I used carrots and celery. Cook until softened, then add the tender meat from the stewing hen, and season to taste.
Let's Honor A Stewing Hen 🙂
So, next time you happen to see a stewing hen at your grocery store, I do hope you will bring one home. Cooking with it truly does honor the entire life cycle of an amazing creature that gave its all. ❤️
You can use the broth and meat in a chicken and wild rice soup, like I did. Or you can use the broth to enrich other dishes that call for it, and the delicious tender meat can be enjoyed in a myriad of other meals!
Some Other Dishes You May Enjoy!
Easy Fall Apart Tender Barbacoa Tacos
Easy Shrimp Gumbo Using Zatarain's Gumbo Mix
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How To Cook A Stewing Hen
- 1 stewing hen
- water enough to cover the ingredients in the crockpot
- 3 garlic cloves peeled
- 1 onion peeled and quartered
- 1 celery cut into a few pieces
- 1 carrot peeled and chopped into 2" pieces
- few whole black peppercorns I just sprinkled a few in
For Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- 4-6 cups Stewing Hen broth
- ¾-1 cup wild rice
- 1 carrot peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 celery cut into bite sized pieces
- 1.5 cups Stewing hen meat picked off the bones
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
To Cook The Stewing Hen
- Add the stewing hen and other ingredients to a crockpot. Cover the ingredients with water.
- Set to low heat, cover, and cook for 12 hrs.
- Allow to cool a bit, then separate the ingredients from the broth. Skim the fat from the top of the broth if you like.
- Pick the meat from the bones of the stewing hen.
To Make Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Add the stewing hen broth and wild rice to a large saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Lower to a simmer, and cook until the wild rice is tender, around 45-50 minutes.
- Add the cut up carrots and celery for the last 10 minutes of the time your rice is cooking. Cook the vegetables until softened.
- Add the stewing hen meat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
I love this post! I picked up a “stewing fowl” at the Asian market yesterday. It was the first time that I’d seen them for sale. I love what you said about “honouring the entire life cycle”. I’m going to try cooking it in the slow cooker as you suggest and add it to congee and make some tacos. Your recipes look amazing! I can tell that you cook from the heart and respect the ingredients 😋
Dear Christine, thank you so very much for your kind comments! I sincerely apologize for my delayed response as I have been on vacation. I am truly honored by what you said and I do hope that you will love cooking with the stewing fowl❤️. Adding it to congee and using it for tacos sounds tremendous! If you have a chance I would love to get your feedback on how and if you enjoyed cooking the stewing fowl. Wishing you a most wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year! Grace
I bought the same brand of stewing hen but forgot to ask whether I have to prepare it first, like remove giblets or insides or whatever. Or is it ready to go into the crockpot right away? Thanks!
Hi Victoria! Great question and sorry I hadn't addressed that in the post. If there are any giblets please remove those. Other than that it's ready to go into the crockpot! I certainly hope you will enjoy the process and also the lovely meat and broth. I would be honored if you would let me know how it turns out for you. Thanks so much and take good care! Grace
Good recipe! While your recipe is tried and sure, I was wondering if you would get good results if the stew hen were used for coq au vin? If so, recipe/cook times?
Hi Barbara! Thank you for your comments and questions! To be honest I have never made coq au vin with a stewing hen, but I certainly think it would work! Using a crock pot method with a long and slow cooking time (10-12 hrs) the meat will become tender and the juices will mingle with the Burgundy wine which would be out of this world! Would add carrots, onion, garlic, shallot, bay leaf, some salt pork and season with salt and pepper. Your question has given me a challenge to make this dish with the stewing hen! I have it on my list to make now and will let you know how it turns out! In the meantime should you give it a go I would love to hear your results! Thank you so so much for your question! Have an awesome day! Grace
I picked up a fresh (!) stewing hen at a local Asian grocery store today because I couldn't believe the difference in price ($3.99 for a stewing hen vs. $12 for a roasting chicken of roughly the same weight) and then I got thinking "OK, now what?", so I checked your post out. I'm glad I did because it seems really simple, I might even let it simmer in my slow cooker overnight. Thanks for the ideas, if this works out I will use it for my mother's chicken and dumplings recipe, I've always wanted to try it.
Hey there Jeff! Thanks so very much for your comments and I'm so happy you picked up that stewing hen! I do hope the recipe works out for you and I would absolutely love to know if you do end up using it for your mom's chicken and dumplings! So all the very best, and enjoy the experience of cooking a stewing hen! Cheers! Grace
Thanks for the recipe! Do you add the water up to the top of the chicken, or just high enough to cover the veggies?
Hi Mary! Thanks so much for your question! You can add water to cover the top of the chicken. I do hope you will enjoy preparing your stewing hen and would love to know how it turns out. I hope you have a wonderful day! Grace
Most of my 8 chickens just stopped laying, and since they were molting and it is the start of winter, I honorably harvested them and now will eat them. Thanks so much for the recipe. these chickens had almost 3 wonderful years running around our hobby farm. commercial chickens live in horrible conditions for a few months at best. We will get new chicks in the spring and start the process again.
Dear Amy, thank you so very much for your comments which have truly warmed my heart. I too feel so very sorry for the commercial chickens and I love your love for your chickens and that you are honoring their entire life cycle.❤️ I want to wish you a wonderful day and holiday season ahead. Take good care, Grace ❤️