I have a funny story along with a foolproof recipe for Tasty Tuesday! Today we’re going to find out about how to stew chickens for dinner. Not chicken stew, but stewed chicken. As usual, I’ll let Hannah Glasse tell us in a bit more detail what we’re aiming for.
A pretty Way of stewing Chickens
Take two fine chickens, half boil them, then take them up in a pewter or silver dish, if you have one, cut up your fowls, and separate all the joint bones one from another, and then take out the breast-bones. If there is not liquor enough from the fowls, add a few spoonfuls of the water they were boiled in, put in a blade of mace, and a little salt; cover it close with another dish, set it over a stove or chafing dish of coals, let it stew till the chickens are enough, and then send them hot to the table in the same dish they were stewed in.
Note, This is a very pretty dish for any sick person, or for a lying in lady. For change, it is better than butter, and the sauce is very agreeable and pretty.
N.B. You may do rabbits, partridges, or moor-game, this way.
So, essentially she wants us to cook the chickens twice: once in boiling water, and then over coals. She’s wise, let me tell you. In fact, my funny story is about making Cornish hens for New Year’s Eve dinner one year. I stuffed their little chest cavities with long grain and wild rice and put them in the oven. Their skin turned all golden brown, but the flesh would not cook. Not even in the microwave, which I finally grew desperate enough to try. I think we ended up eating pizza… And my family will never let me forget it, either. So I was overjoyed to find this method of cooking them!
I didn’t have to make many adjustments to this recipe. After all, there are not many ingredients to begin with. Instead of using two whole chickens, since again I’m adapting these to dinner for two as much as possible, I used Cornish hens. If you were feeding a larger crowd though, you might want to adjust up to two whole chickens. And instead of mace and salt, I used my old standbys of garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and black pepper.
I also had to have my hubby do the separation of the hens’ joints because while I’m recovering from my shoulder surgery, I’m not strong enough to do that yet. Even he had a bit of difficulty with locating the joint to cut through it on the small-boned birds.
So here’s my take on making stewed chicken…
Betty’s Stewed Cornish Hens
2 Cornish hens, thawed
Garlic powder, to taste
Italian seasoning, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large pot of boiling water, parboil the hens. Carefully remove them (as their skin/flesh is very tender) to a large cutting board.
Separate the joints and lay the breasts and pieces in a covered casserole dish.
Sprinkle with seasonings; cover and place in the oven for 45-60 minutes or until done.
I steamed some broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, and boiled up some small honey gold potatoes to add to the dish before serving it. It did make a nice presentation and tasted even better than it looked. We had enough for two meals out of it. The best part is that they were cooked through without any snide remarks…
I’ve also had success with cooking Cornish hens in my crockpot. That’s easier than having to cut up the birds, too. Have you found a fool-proof way to stew chicken or hens?
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