Stewing Hen Ragu

A shortage of meat chickens in the market has prompted a lot of questions on our Stewing Hens. Yes, they are available. Yes, they are frozen. No, they cannot be put on the grill.

So, what exactly do you do with a stewing hen?

The simple answer is “low and slow” is the key. It needs to stew, hence the name. But if you try googling stewing hen recipes you get a lot on how to make stock but we have not seen anything with tomato sauce. The acidity in the tomatoes breaks down the protein on the hen and it comes out fantastic.

We’re not chefs, so these recipes won’t call for exact measurements. Unless your baking, farmhouse cooking rarely does.

What you’ll need:

A stewing hen (defrosted)

28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

A few ribs of celery, half an onion (we used a few shallots!) and a carrot

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

What you’ll do:

Cut the hen up into parts. Here’s a youtube video on cutting up a chicken. Same process for the hens:

Put a stock pot on the stove, put some olive oil in it and get it hot. Salt and pepper the chicken and then brown all sides in the oil. Take the chicken out and set it aside.

Rough chop the veggies and put them in the pot and cook for about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper the veggies too.

Put the chicken back in. Open the can of tomatoes and pour over top. Add water to the pot until it just barely covers the chicken. Turn the heat down. Put the cover on the pot.

Forget about it for 2 hours. Check in on it then. If you can easily insert a fork into the chicken it’s ready. If not, let it go for awhile longer.

When it’s ready take the chicken out of the pot and let it cool.

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Once it has cooled down to the touch, discard the skin and then take all of the meat off the bones. Throw the bones away.

Take your reserved liquid that the chicken cooked in and use an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender we highly recommend getting one! They’re amazing!

Do not take anything out of the pot! Blend it all up together. It will naturally form a thick and very rich sauce. Then simply add the shredded chicken into the blended tomato sauce. Turn the heat to very low and let it simmer for another 20 minutes or so before serving. Or store in a non reactive container in the fridge for another day.

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Serve over your favorite style pasta with some Parmesan cheese.

 

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