I used an old laying hen from Glynwood farm to make coq au vin today. Man, it was good! Them old hens may be small and tough, but they're incredibly flavorful. Even as I was breaking down the whole chicken, I was surprised by how the raw meat smelled...as if I'd already made it into chicken stock. I happened to have some smoked bacon in the freezer and a pile of wee onions from my favorite farm. I'd been hoarding a bag of dried chanterelle mushrooms I'd picked in Oregon, waiting for something special to cook them with. I'd say a scrawny old hen who provided hundreds of eggs over her lifetime is pretty special - as it turns out, too good for the stock pot! This rich and succulent dish will be in heavy rotation in our household this winter.
I intend to show you how I made it, but I want to try something new: a slideshow with voice over instructions. Since I'm traveling upstate tomorrow to buy, kill, and butcher a whole elk, I probably won't get around to the Old Hen Au Vin slide show for a couple days. In the meantime, find out if there's a farm or butcher from whom you can buy these super cheap and super tasty old birds.