How to Bake a Chicken Hen

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Moisture is the secret to baking a succulent hen.
Moisture is the secret to baking a succulent hen. (Image: fatness of chicken image by Witold Krasowski from Fotolia.com)

A baking hen is a mature, egg-laying chicken. While younger chickens make succulent bakers, roasting an older hen can be tricky. Baking hens can be purchased at most large grocery chains. Follow tips to add moisture to your bird while cooking or expect a tough, bland dinner disaster.

Things You'll Need

  • Baking hen
  • Clay baker with lid
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 cubes chicken bullion
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 large yellow onions, peeled
  • Garlic salt
  • Pepper

Remove and discard the giblet packet from the cavity of a 2 lb. to 3 lb. hen. Rinse the hen under cold running water. Place the onions inside the empty cavity of the hen and place the hen in the clay baker.

Dissolve the bullion in the water. Melt the stick of butter and add it to the bullion mixture. Slowly pour the mixture over the hen. Season well with garlic salt and pepper.

Place the lid on the clay baker, and place baker into a 350 Fahrenheit degree oven. Cooking time for hens will vary depending on weight. Cook all hens for one hour, plus an additional 30 minutes per pound.

After one hour, remove the lid from the baker and baste the hen with the stock in the pan. Baste the hen once every 30 minutes thereafter. Place the lid back on the clay baker and allow the hen to cook until golden brown and tender.

Tips & Warnings

  • A clay baker is the suggested cooking method for this recipe. All other cooking methods are likely to produce a tough, unevenly cooked, tasteless hen.
  • Bake the hen until the legs pull away from the body cavity and the skin turns golden brown. Generally, baking time for hens is one hour, plus 30 minutes per pound.
  • A spoon, cup or baster may be used when basting the hen. Carefully pour the liquid slowly over the hen for maximum absorption.
  • Save and use the chicken stock for soup or other recipes.
  • Always wear oven mitts and use care when handling hot objects or basting meats.

References

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