A Grimm Kitchen Indeed
Here is a great recipe to use an older or ‘stewing’ hen. It comes from Grandma Smith’s scrap book/recipe collection, and was hand written.
(1) 8 pound chicken
Salt to taste
Milk 3 cups
1 quart of bread or cracker crumbs
(I add chicken seasoning to taste as well)
Cook the chicken until tender
Remove from bones
Cut in small pieces
Mix with other ingredients
Bake in medium hot oven (350 F 45-60 minutes)
For smaller chicken reduce other portions of ingredients as required.
(Some of my hens are 6-8 pounds by the time I cull them from the laying flock, but a store bought chicken works well with the recipe cut in half.)
Here is another recipe that can be made with chicken, but is titled Turkey Loaf and uses ground, rather than chopped meat.
2 ½ cups ground turkey or chicken
1 cup oats (uncooked) (use regular oats, not instant)
½ cup chopped celery
½ cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons pimento
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 eggs beaten
1 ¼ cups milk
Grease loaf pan
Line with tin foil
Bake about 1 hour (350 F)
Let stand 5 minutes before slicing
There is a wonderful cookbook that can be found on the Project Gutenberg site: The Project Gutenberg EBook of Foods That Will Win The War And How To Cook Them (1918), by C. Houston Goudiss and Alberta M. Goudiss
This book address the problems of cooking for a family when meat, fats, vegetables and sugar were not only rationed, but scarce as well. The lessons and the recipes are creative and fun to read, but I am finding many of them fit very well into my concept of the Grimm Kitchen, that is both thrifty and healthy.
I have also recently come into possession of a fabulous little note book that my mother’s mother kept that is chock full of similar recipes, as well as verses, poems, words to songs and general knowledge. I am in the process of blogging it under “Jennetta Balding Smith: Grandma's Standard bound NOTE BOOK”
The note book contains several loose recipes clipped from newspapers which don't usually include a date, just the recipe itself.
Escalloped Creamed Oysters
4 tablespoons butter.
6 tablespoons flour.
2 cups milk.
1 1/2 pints small oysters.
1/2 teaspoon salt.
1/4 teaspoon pepper.
1 teaspoon chopped celery.
1 tablespoon chopped parsley.
2/3 cup cracher crumbs.
2 tablespoons butter, melted.
Melt the four tablespoons butter and add flour. when blended, add milk and cook until creamy sauce forms. Stir constantly. Add oysters and seasonings. Pour into buttered shallow baking dish and cover with crumbs mixed with melted butter. Bake 20 minutes in moderate oven. Serve in dish in which baked.
(I tried this recipe in the toaster oven and it turned out quite well. I used 1/2 teaspoon of celery seed in place of the chopped celery because I didn't happen to have celery on hand, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of parsley flakes. I was expecting the taste to be a bit bland, but was pleasantly surprised.)
About Butchering and Cooking With Roosters and Older Hends
When my daughter Amanda butchered her first rooster she said “never again”, but now we kind-of take the” butchering thing” for granted. In fact, I have come to the conclusion that as long as I have chosen to eat meat at all, and I have, I should take responsibility for ensuring what I eat has been raised humanely, had what I believe to have been a good life, and was killed with respect. That is exactly what we do here on the farm, and when I take anything off the farm to be butchered it is to a processor that I am confident is completely appropriate in his handling of my livestock.
The issue with roosters and older hens is that they have to be cooked differently to be satisfying. Here is an excerpt from an ALBC (American Livestock Breeds Conservancy) paper called: Rediscovering Traditional Meats from Historic Chicken Breeds By Gina Bisco
“There are 4 traditional chicken meat classes: broiler, fryer, roaster and fowl. The traditional broiler age range was from 7 to 12 weeks, and carcass weight from 1 to 2 1/2 lbs. (Squab broilers would be youngest and smallest of these, typically Leghorn cockerels about 3/4 to 1 pound dressed.) The next age and weight group was called the fryer. Traditional fryer age range was from 14 to 20 weeks, and carcass weight from 2 1/2 to 4 lbs. Traditional roaster age range was from 5 to 12 months, and carcass weight from 4 to 8 pounds. Most roasters were butchered between 6 and 9 months. Hens and roosters 12 months and older were called “fowl” or “stewing fowl” signifying that slow moist cooking methods were required.”
Now Amanda and I regularly butcher our excess roosters and either cook them in a pressure cooker to be added to chicken and noodles/dumplings, or can them. The canned meat is so very good, and quick and easy to use for simple, fast meals that it’s become a staple for us.
If you haven’t done any canning before, you will find yourself right where we were a few years ago. We knew it could be done, but didn’t have a clear idea of how to go about it. We canned some corn, some green beans, and then took the plunge. I recommend that you read the current canning recommendations from Ball, and any other good source. And Back Woods Home magazine has a lot of good canning information.
I also imagine a fresh (or frozen) rooster could be successfully cooked in a crock pot or slow cooker. I just haven’t done that because I really like to use my pressure cooker for them.