How to Cook an Old Rooster (or Hen!)
- 1 whole rooster or stewing hen, plucked & gutted
- Water (to cover the bird)
- Herbs of your choice (sage, rosemary, thyme, etc) fresh or dried
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt/pepper to taste (I like this salt)
- More herbs, seasonings, and your choice of veggies (onions, garlic, carrots, celery) to make stock (if desired)
- Cover the bird loosely (I used wax paper to allow the carcass to breathe–avoid plastic wrap) and place in the fridge to age for 4-7 days. This is a crucial step for an old bird, as the extended aging process allows the muscle fibers to relax and tenderize. Don’t skip it!
- After the aging process, place the bird in a large stock pot and cover it with water. Season if you like (I tossed in some salt, pepper, rosemary, parsley, and an onion for good measure) and cover. Simmer for 6-12 hours.
- 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.
- At this point, you can set the bones aside (we’ll be using them to make chicken stock), and toss the meat back into the broth to make chicken soup. (Just add the vegetables of your choice, noodles, and seasonings to taste, removing the bay leaves before you serve it. I don’t have an *exact* chicken soup recipe, since it’s different every time I serve it.