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Food & Drink

Backyard chickens: pets or meat?

What to do when your hen stops laying eggs

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Most contemporary recipes call for cooking store-bought chicken for 20 or so minutes to get it to a state of chewability. They call for ingredients like bacon, butter, flour and other fatteners and thickeners to make a decadent stew. While I’m adding wine, I’m thinking of this as chicken soup as much as coq au vin, and I like to keep the broth on the thin side.

Sometimes I will thicken with potatoes, cooked separately until near-falling apart. In addition to ushering the dish from soup to stew, potatoes add belly-filling body. Reheat the soup with whatever veggies you want, adding water as necessary. For coq au vin, I add a mirepoix-like mix of carrots, celery, parsnip, garlic and onions, along with bay leaves and herbes de Provence. Mushrooms are nice. As it heats, add salt and more wine to taste.

A few bites of spent hen au vin could steer a lot of backyard chicken keepers away from abandonment and into the realm of responsible slaughter, while giving them a new level of appreciation for their beloved birds. Your hens lived immeasurably better lives than the average chicken. It was a good thing.

It came to an end. Now eat some coq au vin.

can be easily remedied with a few sweet sips of a classic vanilla shake ($4). With a new store manager on board, look for more creative ice cream treats in the near future.

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