Old Hen in Parsley Sauce on white plate

Old Hen in Parsley Sauce Recipe

How to Cook an Old Hen (and have it come out tender!) Old Hen in Parsley Sauce

Have a old hen that isn’t laying or an extra rooster in your backyard flock? They don’t have to end up in the stock pot! Learn how to make Old Hen in Parsley Sauce– it’s full of flavor with meat so tender it falls off the bone!


Even if you rock at raising chickens, there comes  a time when you may need to cull a few of the older laying hens when they are no longer productive. A couple weeks ago we culled a few hens from the flock and I jumped at the opportunity to try a recipe, Old Hen in Parsley Sauce, I’ve had my eye on for months from my beloved Forgotten Skills of Cooking cookbook. (It’s one of my top cookbook recommendations for the simple homestead kitchen.)

Old hens have a bad reputation for being good for nothing but to season stock, but allow me to dispel that myth for you because with proper preparation an old hen can be made fall-apart-tender and succulent. Even better because of all that beautiful golden fat.

How to Cook an Old Hen (and have it come out tender!) Old Hen in Parsley Sauce

Old Hen in Parsley Sauce was absolutely one of the most amazing chicken dishes I have ever made and if you think that I’m waiting until the next time we cull the flock to prepare it, you’d be sorely mistaken. Poor birds, I’d be looking for any reason to dispatch them. It is just as delicious made with any meat chicken from your freezer. 

Some notes on the recipe for Old Hen in Parsley Sauce

  • Resist the instinct to cover the bird with stock or water. It really does only take a couple cups of stock.
  • Since it’s the dead of winter here (despite the claims of the calendar otherwise) I’ve no fresh herbs growing so I used dry herbs and it turned out wonderfully.
  • While the liaison is optional, I am not afraid of uncooked farm fresh eggs so I included it and recommend you do so as well if you have the means.
  • I recently tried making Old Hen in Parsley Sauce in the Instant Pot and it turned out wonderfully… in a fraction of the time! It only took 30 minutes (plus warm-up time) to get fall-off-the-bone tender chicken!
How to Cook an Old Hen (and have it come out tender!) Old Hen in Parsley Sauce

Some notes on the Forgotten Skills of Cooking:

  • It’s a big, fat, clothbound, beautiful gem of a cookbook full of 700+ wonderful traditional recipes and skills.
  • Forgotten Skills of Cooking makes me want to try preparing myriads of dishes I would never have tried otherwise.
  • It is taking my farmstead cooking to the next level, making what we are growing and raising more satisfyingly flavorful.
Forgotten Skills of Cooking: The Time-Honored Ways are the Best – Over…
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Darina Allen Peter Cassidy (Author)

Old Hen in Parsley Sauce

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Old Hen in Parsley Sauce on white plate

Old Hen in Parsley Sauce

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Have a old hen that isn’t laying or an extra rooster in your backyard flock? They don’t have to end up in the stock pot! Learn how to make Old Hen in Parsley Sauce- it’s full of flavor with meat so tender it falls off the bone!

    Ingredients

    Scale
    • whole chicken (about 4 pounds), seasoned salt with and pepper
    • 1 large carrot, sliced
    • 3 celery stalks, chopped
    • 1 large onion, sliced
    • a bouquet garni with a sprig of thyme, parsley stems, tiny bay leaf, & 5 peppercorns
    • 2 cups chicken stock
    • ¾ cup whole milk or cream
    • 2 Tablespoons butter
    • 2 Tablespoons flour
    • 4 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
    • Liaison (skip this step if you do not have a farm fresh egg)
    • 1 farm fresh egg yolk
    • ¼ cup heavy cream

    Instructions

    1. Place the seasoned chicken, carrot, celery, onion, and herbs into a large pot.
    2. Pour the stock into the pan and then cover with a lid.
    3. Bring the stock to a boil then reduce it to a simmer for a few hours, until the drumstick feels loose when you give it a tug.
    4. Remove the chicken to a cutting board, and strain the liquid, reserving the liquid only.
    5. Dispose of the vegetables.
    6. Strain the fat from the cooking liquid. (The liquid can be simmered to reduce if it tastes weak.) Add the cream to the stock and bring it to a boil, reducing it again.
    7. Make a roux by melting the butter and whisking in the flour.
    8. Whisk the roux into the stock, simmering to thicken it to a “light coating consistency.” Taste adjust.
    9. Carve the chicken and stir the meat into the sauce along with the parsley, warming the meat back up.
    10. Prepare the liaison just prior to serving by whisking the egg yolk in with the cream. Temper the yolk by whisking in small amounts of the hot sauce until there is half of each in the bowl. Stir the mixture in with the chicken. Taste adjust if necessary and serve over brown rice or rice pilaf.
    • Author: Quinn
    How to Cook an Old Hen (and have it come out tender!) Old Hen in Parsley Sauce

    Enjoy!

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    4 Comments

    1. Terrible result. 2 cups was not enough liquid for a 4lb chicken. It took forever to cook and even then, it wasn’t tender.

      1. Hello Laura. I’m not sure why it would not work for you. It does take a long time to cook as old hens are tough. Low and slow is the key. You could putting it in a crockpot instead of a pot on the stove and cook the chicken that way.

    2. I made this recipe tonight, with a rooster we butchered a few days ago. Wow, it was delicious and fairly easy! I made it just as written, and served it over slices of fresh sourdough bread, instead of rice. Thank you for sharing.






    3. Sounds delicious! Thank you for this recipe. I have a rooster, that we butchered a while ago, thawing. I think I will try this recipe. Q: how do you pronounce Liaison, I never heard the term (used this way). Thanks!