November 20, 2015

culled chickens

What do you do with a past-her-prime laying hen?

The answer, in America, is most likely “culling.” Millions of laying hens are culled (read: slaughtered) each year, removed from farmers’ flocks due to low egg production. They end up mostly in pet food due to the perceived poor quality of their meat.

But food cultures around the world prize the birds' deep flavor. Elderly chickens traditionally went into the stew pot to make a rich a delicious broth.  

At Blue Hill, we use culled laying hens in broths and sauces; but before we boil them, we try to eek out one last bite. Hidden in the cavities of the slaughtered chickens are not-yet-formed, immature eggs, lined up like the runway at La Guardia airport. Jam-packed with protein and flavor, they are one of the great secrets of old hens.