How to Cook an Old Hen (Soup Chicken)


1 whole soup chicken, thawed
Water (to cover the bird)
Herbs of your choice (sage, rosemary, thyme, etc), fresh or dried
2 bay leaves
Salt/pepper to taste
More herbs, seasonings, and your choice of veggies (onions, garlic, carrots, celery) to make stock


1. Cover the bird loosely (such as with wax paper) and place in the fridge to age for 3 – 4 days to help tenderize it.

2. After the aging process, place the bird in a large stock pot and cover it with water. Season if you like (such as with salt, pepper, rosemary, parsley and an onion) and cover. Simmer it on low heat for 6 – 12 hours.

3. Remove the bird from the pot and allow it to cool so you can handle it comfortably. Remove all of the meat from the bones.

4. You can set the bones, skin and bits of meat scraps aside to make chicken stock later, if desired.

5. Cut the meat into chunks, or shred, and place it back in the broth to make chicken soup. Just add the veggies of your choice, noodles, and seasonings to taste.

6. Or, the meat can be saved for sandwiches, tacos or chicken salad.

7. Now you’ll be left with a pile of bones, and some meat scraps. You can throw them into a pot and cover them with fresh water with a few more veggies and herbs (to impart flavor) and boil them long and slow (possibly another 12 – 24 hours) to make a rich, flavorful chicken stock. Pour the contents of the pot through a strainer and save the liquid to use or freeze as chicken stock.