I was late to the Instant Pot party, but once I joined, I quickly became a True Believer.
Once of the best reasons for a homesteader to have an Instant Pot is to make the meat from old laying hens tender, tasty, and done quickly. Usually, layers are butchered after 3+ years. When a hen has spent those years running around, fighting for bugs, facing off goats, and cussing a blue streak at anything that looks like it might be mobile but not immediately accessible for pecking, she tends to have developed a bit of muscle! They make great broth, and sometimes soup… but that’s usually it.
Then I bought an Instant Pot – and life changed! Now I can go from frozen to ready to fall off the bones in under two hours! With super-rich broth, to boot!
I have an 8-quart Instant Pot, which will fit two frozen laying hens:
I added a quart of broth – you could use plain water – because I had plans for making soup anyway. I also added about a 1/4 t. salt, and sage, pepper, thyme, rosemary, and garlic powder – about 1/2 t. each.
I add more at-pressure time when I’m starting from frozen. In case the lights are hard to see, my settings were: Poultry (High Pressure), 110 minutes. I turned off the Keep Warm function because I needed to open it as soon as they were done.
It takes a bit longer for the pot to get to pressure when most of the contents are frozen meat, but about two hours later, we were shredding some mighty tasty meat off those birds.
Most of this went into a chicken pot pie, topped with tator tots. Some went into the soup – it made a lovely creamy wild rice, chicken and mushroom soup. The rest went into the fridge for salads.
So if you have a bunch of old hens in the freezer that you’re dreading making into broth – get an Instant Pot!