Cock, leek & fungus

Cock, leek & fungus

By
From
A Year of Practiculture
Serves
4
Photographer
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

Sounds gross. Maybe I should have workshopped the name slightly more. So I raised some chicks that turned into roosters, which turned into little mongrel bastards that attacked the kids, so I ended up with a lot of rooster in my freezer – i.e. frozen cock. The roosters sat there while I waited for a bit of inspiration re the cooking approach. Then we had one of those frigid yet stunningly beautiful autumn days when I was out searching for fresh field mushrooms. So successful was my search that I returned home with a laden basket and a happy heart.

In the days that followed, I cooked some mushrooms, gave some to a friend and traded some for a home-made sauce. But I still had a decent cache, and if I didn’t cook with them soon, they’d be funky fungus. This is when the idea came to try cooking one of those classic meals I had vague memories of eating as a kid. Something along the lines of chicken and mushroom casserole? I kinda had the same ingredients. Field mushrooms are closely related to supermarket mushrooms, and a cock is just the male version of a chicken. Surely this could work.

This is actually how many of my meals originate. I look to my old life and try to recreate meals but with one main difference. I source, grow, raise or hunt the ingredients myself. And this one really takes the cake. It makes use of the male bird, which in the commercial world is discarded as waste, but in my backyard gets to live for 6 months or a year. It’s a bit fairer and for centuries it’s been a practical way for humans to make the most of something that’s, let’s be honest here … unwanted.

Almost everything for this meal comes from my backyard or the surrounding fields. Even the wine is from a local maker. I guess I’ve realised that I can still enjoy my favourite meals even when I use my own ingredients.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 year-old cock
60ml olive oil
4 garden-fresh leeks, sliced
5 garlic cloves, sliced
4 thick slices jamon, bacon or pancetta
250ml red wine
180-270g field mushrooms, sliced
couscous, to serve
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
butter, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  2. Cut the legs and wings off the bird. Heat half the olive oil (a glug) in a frying pan over medium heat and seal all sides of the body, legs and wings, then transfer to a large cast-iron casserole dish.
  3. In the same pan, heat the remaining olive oil over low heat and gently sweat the leek and garlic until they soften. Add the jamon then transfer the lot to the casserole dish with the cock. Deglaze the frying pan with the red wine and add the wine to the casserole dish with enough water to just cover the chicken.
  4. Into the oven with the casserole dish, then drop the temp to 150°C. After 1 hour, add the mushrooms and stir through, then reduce the temp to 130°C and cook for another hour, or until the meat starts to pull away from the bones.
  5. Remove the casserole dish from the oven, take out the bird and pull all the meat from the bones, discarding the bones. Ladle out 500 ml of the cooking water and use it to cook the couscous according to the packet instructions. Leave the remaining liquid in the dish.
  6. Return the picked meat to the casserole dish, add seasoning, then set over medium heat on the stove top. Bring to a simmer and reduce the liquid to a sauce-like consistency while the couscous is cooking.
  7. Serve the casserole on the couscous with a dirty big knob of butter on top, because mushrooms and butter are lovers.
Tags:
rohan
anderson
practiculture
whole
larder
love
sustainable
sustainability
grow
harvest
forage
hunt
seasonal
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