As some of you may remember, I raised some chickens for meat this summer. They arrived May 3rd, and went outdoors sometime in June, and were harvested for meat September 30th. After a short adjustment period in their chicken tractor, I allowed them to free range during the day when I was home. Six roosters and 1 hen (a second hen was way too friendly and now lives with the laying birds, and is truly still the most friendly).
Five of us had gotten together, and we harvested one person’s drakes (male ducks) before we came over and harvested my small flock. Teamwork makes any task go easier!!
Anyhow, with two of the birds, I’d taken the carcasses and bagged them as parts of each whole bird (minus wings and guts* — wings of which I wanted to save for buffalo, or other style, of wing appetizers, and it made more sense to put together two bags of all of those for such purposes). I did include the backs, however.
After harvesting and cleaning, keep birds chill (ie in the fridge) for a day or two before freezing. I did this and set up the new vacuum sealer, a cheap model, but so far on the small amount of use it has had, it appears to be working well.
The goal was to make Coq au Vin (Rooster in Wine) for one bird, and Rooster Corfu (for the other bird). Both these dishes are/were intended to be shared with guests. It’s a lot of meat per roo!
Rooster Corfu is simpler to make than Coq au Vin, and after having tasted the former, and looking at the ingredients for the latter… I think I am going to make the Corfu variant again for the next guests willing to try home grown rooster. (Don’t raise your eyebrows… I have two nearby omnivore friends to date who told me they won’t ever eat a bird I raised here – only one of whom who has actually briefly MET said birds — because even that sounds too personal — but they’ll chow down Tyson’s factory-raised poultry without a second thought. No. I seriously don’t get it.)
Corfu is a large island that’s currently part of the nation of Greece, and is located to its west. Its main and municipal city is also named Corfu. Corfu has a rich history stretching back into antiquity; unfortunately a lot of its architecture was bombed during WWII. Cuisine has a decided Venetian influence.
Surfing around looking for rooster recipes, I found this: Corflu rooster: https://sunstonefarmandlearn.com/2009/05/26/favorite-rooster-recipes/ – from Sunstone Farm. What interested me about their recipes is that they used rooster that was slaughtered after the prime tender time of harvest, but not ancient and aged rooster. This fit what I had to hand. And, the recipe sounded great.
Changes I made: the use of healthy avocado oil, using sparkling cider instead of an alcoholic beverage, forgetting to reduce the final volume of fluid.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes of searing chicken, 15 minutes of other cook-prep work,
1 – 3 hours of simmering depending on age of rooster.
Rest Time: Five minutes.
Serves: 5-6 servings as a main.
Cuisine: Corfu-ian? (No: Corfiot)
Leftovers: Certainly. Either reheat on the cook top, or in a microwave. I added some to a breakfast omelet, too.
Served with: Scalloped Potatoes Au Gratin, and a tossed salad.
- 1 rooster, cut into pieces
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoon avocado or other high temp cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, or use red wine vinegar
- 2 medium onions, peeled, sliced, and coarsely chopped
- 3 ½ cups / 830 mL water
- ½ cup / 120 mL sparkling cider (or feel free to use a dry white wine or vermouth)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
Pat chicken pieces dry.
In a small container, mix together the cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
Sprinkle over the chicken, rubbing into it on both sides.
Heat to medium high your oil in a skillet. Brown the chicken on all sides (two batches), and then put in a large cooking pot.
While the chicken is browning, mix tomato paste and vinegar together in another small bowl.
Sauté those onions for about six minutes (using more oil in the skillet as needed), until some browning. Add the garlic, sautéing a minute or two longer. Reduce heat slightly.
Now, add the tomato/vinegar mixture, and allow to simmer for a minute. Move the onion plus the current skillet ingredients to the chicken cook pot.
Deglaze with half a cup (120 mL) of the water, and move that over to the chicken cook pot.
Again to the skillet, to bring over all remaining flavors, add the rest of the water, the cider or wine, and the sugar. Simmer for a couple minutes, then bring all those to that chicken pot.
Put the chicken pot on a heating element, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer (covered). Simmer this for 1 – 3 hours, depending on your rooster toughness/age.
I simmered this for 2 hours; this rooster would have been fine simmered for 1.5 hours.
What I forgot to do… in other preparations for my guests… was to transfer all the chicken out after cooking, and reducing the remaining sauce uncovered to approximately 2.5 cups of liquid (and onion), then replacing the chicken. This would likely take about 10 minutes. But, as I said, I forgot, and this dish turned out wonderfully anyway! My guests informed me that this was better than some coq au vin they’d been served in a restaurant somewhere. (Looking at the coq au vin recipe… I think I’ll stick with Corfu…)
Since this is an older bird, I notice two things: 1) While it may work best with a low and slow approach for most purposes, it has intensely better flavor than supermarket or even local quickly-raised free range Cornish Cross chickens. 2) It takes a lot less bird to reach a satiety point when you are eating them. So, while having poultry on your hands for several more weeks may mean you are paying more for feed , the meat itself goes further. For me, this is worth it (although I do plan to harvest most of my meat birds two or three or four weeks earlier in the future). Yes, free-range birds generally get some commercial feed, too — in my case, I get them back in the tractor in the evening with bribery…
NOTE: You CAN make this with regular supermarket chicken. Just cook it a lot less. When it starts to detach from the bone, you’re done.
( * The guts and other odd bits: I combined hearts and gizzards, and made a slow braised dish for them, not recorded – for which some of you may be grateful… The feet would normally become stock but a friend wanted them to try her hand at Chinese dim sum, so she has them in her freezer. Livers are frozen and awaiting being turned into pate, but I want more chicken liver to make the time involved worth the effort. I didn’t save the heads, but an inadvertent Internet surf turned up ways to cook rooster combs and wattles. I have to admit it just seemed to “personal” to use those! I’ve already posted a chicken unborn egg soup recipe from the one hen in the batch. Since I don’t have the feet, necks have been reserved for stock.)