The Road Home

The Road Home
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

From Rooster to Chicken Salad

When we recently butchered our last extra rooster, we decided to simmer the entire carcass to make chicken stock. The meat we decided to grind and make chicken salad.

Years ago, when we replaced our old laying hens, we decided to butcher  and eat them. Well, they were very, very tough. We tried baking one very slowly, like you would a turkey. Way too tough! We tried simmering one very slowly, again, way too tough! We tried taking the meat off of the carcass raw, grinding it up, then cooking it and using it. This worked okay but was a lot of work and wasted some of the meat.

This time we decided to simmer the entire carcass, make stock, then grind the meat.


We used the small grinding blade on our Kitchen Aid. I sure am going to miss electricity! Do you have manual backups for the 'tools' you use? Kitchen and otherwise?

Always make sure you are using your equipment in a safe manner. This grinding attachment has the hopper high enough up that if you use your finger to push the meat into it, you cannot reach the auger and injure yourself. In a grid down or collapse situation, injuries will be very dangerous and maybe fatal. Make sure you practice safe procedures now with an eye to how you might be performing these same tasks under more austere conditions.

The meat is fairly dry and crumbly. It turned out kind of funny looking.

There was plenty to use and plenty to freeze.

This is a new copy of the old version of Betty Crocker. It has all of the old pictures and shows how things used to be made. It's a good reference to have on hand.

We decided to look up a chicken salad recipe and follow it since we hadn't made any in a very long time.
The recipe calls for:
2 cups cold cut up chicken chunks
1 cup cut up celery
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2-3 hard cooked eggs 

I like the old-fashioned wording.

I said we followed the recipe. Well, the differences are we ground the chicken instead of cutting it into chunks. And....I didn't measure how much meat there was.

And.....we didn't have any fresh celery, so we used a tablespoon of celery seed, or just about this much.

Pepper to taste. I really didn't think the eggs would taste good in this. Tuna salad, maybe, but not this. And speaking of tuna, we have bought our last canned salmon. We do not trust the radiation levels of the Pacific Ocean and the damage it is doing to all of the sea life, therefore, we will not be buying any more. We really enjoy eating canned salmon. We caught and ate a lot of it when we lived in Alaska, one year even canning up 100 pints ourselves. That was the first time I ever canned anything. It will be sorely missed.

I put more mayo than the recipe called for - measured precisely, of course. Then added one more dollop. I figured if it was still a little dry after everything chilled, I could add more.

I made this in the morning and we ate it at lunch. It was good then, but better the next day. From this tough rooster we will get about six meals, not to mention the eight pints of chicken stock. That is a good amount of nutrition from a bird some would not consider for food. Granted it is much easier and less work to just give away or do away with one bird and there have been many times we have done just that. It is all a matter of self-discipline and determination. Look around and see what opportunities you have that will provide more for your family than you expected. It will be a skill that we will need to have and depend on to thrive and survive.

Until next time - Fern


  1. Love your measurements :) Why would you even consider pushing down anything in a grinder with your finger? From my point of view that's just an accident waiting to happen.
    Also, do you have a pressure cooker? They really are helpful in making tough cuts of meat or old birds tender. Of course, they are only useful if you have a source of consistent even heat like an electric or propane stove top.

    1. Thank you, that's a point well taken. As we tried to demonstrate with the picture, it is impossible for Frank to get his finger into the grinding mechanism. Of course, safety always comes first. We wanted to highlight safe procedures under comfortable and difficult situations.

      No, we don't cook in a pressure cooker, although I know others that do. Thanks for the comment.


  2. I love my kitchen aid attachments :) We had a friend give us some venison years back and I wanted to grind it into ground burger, my husband didn't think the grinder would be able to handle it, it worked great!!
    Thanks for the tutorial.

    1. Yes, this grinder does work great! We will be using it again the next time we butcher our wethers. You are welcome.

  3. As lovers of seafood, we were sad to say good-bye to consuming anything that exists in Pacific Ocean waters. Unfortunately, post-Fukashima all seafood is now suspect. We just don't eat fish anymore, period. We will have to grown our own via aquaculture. We too were big eaters of Alaska canned salmon, but no more...

    1. If you are a seafood eater, you could still consider Atlantic varieties. We have not researched these opportunities yet, but it certainly seems like a possibility.

  4. I stew all of my old hens in a big stock pot until the meat is falling off them bones. Then I pick all the meat off, strain the stock, and the bones go back in to make an extra batch of stock. I use the meat in stir fries, soup, enchiladas, casseroles, etc and it is pretty good that way. I've never tried grinding the meat...great idea!

    Thanks for sharing on The HomeAcre Harvest Hop! I hope to see you back to share more great posts today!

  5. I know this post is old but I hope you see it anyway.

    I used to struggle with tough old Hens, and Roosters until I discovered THE secret. They roast up perfect, and you'd think it was a store boughten one.

    Put your Hen in a Roaster with your seasonings, and at least an inch of water. Cook it slow, and long and you will be very very surprised. It's the moist heat that does it.


    1. Edith, thank you very much for the tip. I will have to try it. I like the way you put it as THE secret. Thank you again for sharing.