Favorite Rooster Recipes: Corfu Rooster

Every now and then, a rooster must be dispatched from the farm. Often I’ll see ads for free roosters to a good home –not to be eaten, but the likelihood of finding a home that does not involve a freezer or cock-fighting setup is slim. Putting the rooster in the stew pot is a time-honored way of living sustainably on the land, making use of all our resources.

Here are some of my favorite recipes, but you can use any chicken stew recipe. Your rooster will have so much more flavor than a grocery store chicken, organic or not, that you will finally understand why many old-timers (my 96 year old grandmother included) or foreigners complain that our chicken is tasteless.

The first think you have to do is age your rooster after you butcher. If you cook your rooster right away, it will be tough, tough, tough, no matter how long you stew. The meat will be chewier than grocery store chicken which is so flabby you can cut it with a fork, but remember this bird has been running around your yard, chasing off hawks and finding grubs for your hens. To age your bird, let the meat rest in the refrigerator for two to four days. I usually wait two or three days. Aging it in a bring also helps. If you only have 24 hours to age the bird, then definitely age it in a brine, or wine, or buttermilk, depending on your recipe.

Notice how dark orange the fat is on our rooster which has spent its life running around outdoors, eating grass, bugs and other good stuff.

Notice how dark yellow the fat is on these roosters which spent their lives running around outdoors, eating grass, bugs and other good stuff.

My favorite recipes include Coq au Vin, Chicken Paprikash, a Corfu dish Pastisatha (my new favorite), Ajiaco (a delicious Columbian-style chicken stew), and good old boiled chicken to use in pot pies, enchiladas, etc.

I’ll add recipes for all my favorites, but here is the Corfu Rooster recipe to start. I originally found this from Gourmet magazine. A reader requested the recipe after vacationing on Corfu. If you use a grocery store hen, the recipe won’t have the outstanding flavor of a rooster, but it will still be good, and you won’t have to cook it nearly as long. I serve this with mashed or roasted potatoes and steam-sautéed greens. – Jen

Corfu Rooster
Serving size depends on the bird

1 rooster, cut into pieces
7 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoon olive oil or lard
1 tablespoon tomato paste (or use some tomatoes)
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
3 ½ cups water
½ cup dry white wine (or vermouth or other booze)
1 teaspoon sugar

Pat chicken dry.

Stir together cinnamon, salt, pepper and sprinkle over chicken.

Heat oil in a skillet and brown chicken in two batches on all sides, transfer to a plate
meanwhile, stir tomato paste and vinegar.

Add more oil to skillet if necessary and sauté onions till golden; about 6 minutes.

Stir in tomato mixture and simmer 1 minute. Stir in water, wine sugar and simmer uncovered, ~5 minutes.

Add chicken to pot and simmer, covered, until tender (1-3 hours, depending on how tough your rooster is).

Transfer cook chicken to a platter and boil sauce, uncovered, till reduced to about 2 ½ cups (about 10 minutes). Season with salt!

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48 Responses to Favorite Rooster Recipes: Corfu Rooster

  1. Amy says:

    Thanks for posting this recipe, Jen.
    My sister is often offered young roosters which have been culled – she kills and dresses them and I am sometimes the happy recipient of one – either frozen or fresh.
    She has just dropped off the latest offering (2 roosters) along with the livers from the 5 she killed (she doesn’t eat organ meats).
    I was wondering whether I could substitue the rooster livers in any recipe calling for chicken livers – do you know? Or is there some ghastly male hormone thingy which is dire to eat? I’ve never cooked with chicken livers before so it will be all new to me!
    My husband is very touchy about home killed meat and only ate rooster last time because I casseroled it and cooked it on low for hours until it fell off the bone – AND I called it chicken! I daren’t try him with the livers – so I’m the guinea pig for that…..
    thanks for your time,
    warm regards,

  2. Hi Amy,

    Lucky you to get all those roosters! Liver is such a nutrient-rich food. I’ve never had an issue with rooster livers, though my Roos are never very old. I don’t know if there would be a different intensity of flavor for old rooster livers. Since your DH won’t eat liver, try putting some in with meatloaf or other stewy things. He probably won’t notice it. But a good chicken liver pate might convince him!

    Cheers, jen

  3. Joe Breda says:

    This was an excellent dish. Thanks for the recipe!!

  4. It’s one of our favorites, Joe. I’m glad it worked out for you. -Tree

  5. Lisa Breda says:

    I just had our first pasture raised chicken and roasted it in a similar manner to conventionally raised chicken, and found it tough. Thanks for the tips on aging and brining. We will give it a try on our next bird!

  6. Hi Lisa. Try making stews or chicken pot pie! Thanks for stopping by our blog. -Tree

  7. Joan says:

    The recipe lists 7 garlic cloves in the ingredients. However they don’t feature in the instructions.
    At what point are they put in, and how?

  8. Hi Joan,
    I add the cloves towards the end of sauteeing the onions, maybe a minute before I add liquid. Enjoy!

  9. Pingback: Special Order Rooster Story and Recipes « Beneficial Farms CSA

  10. Wendy says:

    I have 4 roosters that need to taken out as (we have 5) and they are getting aggressive. I’ve needed a recipe as always they have been tough – even a little after boiling. Looking forward to trying this recipe and any others you may post

  11. The key is aging the roos in the fridge after butchering them. I just age in water, but you can use brine or wine or buttermilk etc. But this is an important step for tender meat.

    Enjoy your roosters, Wendy!

  12. Heather James says:

    Hi Wendy,

    I have just butchered my first rooster and and am quite pleased with self, although I had to do away with the skin and wings as I couldn’t pluck it (long story!). Reading up about making roosters tender, a lot of people say you should age it before freezing, but I threw mine in the freezer last night before I found this out. Is is worth letting it sit for a few days after thawing before I cook it or is it too late? I found him in the bush so I suppose he was dumped, and of course don’t know how old he was.

    I am certainly going to try the Corfu recipe anyway, it sounds delicious 🙂



  13. Heather James says:

    PS Have just re-read and it sounds like I just just go out hunting in the bush! Which I don’t, I happened to be out walking the dogs one day and found him! Anyway I keep chickens and my first bred and born babies are just five months old. The two young roosters are crowing so I guess they will be culled in the next month or so. I will be using the hot water method for plucking this time!



  14. Frances says:

    We just butchered our rooster a couple of days ago and been in the fridge since that. In this recipe, should I make it skinless?
    Enjoying the wisdom!
    Thank You Kindly,

  15. Hi Frances, Sorry to take so long to respond, the comment got lost in my inbox. I’m sure the rooster is well digested by now, but you can use the skin or not. I always do when I have it. Jen

  16. Hi Heather, I know this is getting to you too late, but I generally let them sit for a day or two thawing in the fridge. Enjoy your roos!

  17. Maggie Danner says:

    Hi Jen

    Thanks for the recipe….if I have to eat any more dumnplings this winter….well, you know 🙂 anyway, how do you age a rooster….have many in the freezer & alot running around in the yard as well…Thanks, Maggie

  18. I age them in the fridge for a few days. If your roos are frozen, then the thaw process should do the trick! Cheers, Jen

  19. vowens3 says:

    Do you think I could modify this for a crock pot?

  20. Probably. I’ve never tried it, but, as long as you do the sauteing over the stove (for that sauteed flavor), then the slow cook part s/b fine in a crock. Let us know how it works for you!

  21. Wendy says:

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. This is our first year having chickens and purchased all straight run… FIVE roosters!! *oy* So, here at 8 weeks of age at least 3 of them gotta go! I’ll make sure to age the meat (buttermilk okay for this recipe? Cause I just happen to have some on hand!), and thanks because I wouldn’t have thought of that and would’ve just chucked the meat in a crock pot and let it ride. LOL

    Thanks again for posting!

  22. I love the corfu rooster recipe. Hope you enjoy it too! I haven’t aged it in buttermilk for this recipe (usually I just use water), but I imagine it would be equally tasty!

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  24. Richard says:

    When plucking the rooster (as I did three days ago) I follow the instructions for scalding on the whizbangchickenplucker.com website. Bring water to 145-150’F then hold the slaughtered bird by the feet and dunk it two or three times and shake it under the hot water for three or four seconds each time you dunk. Test pluck a flight feather and if it has resistance dunk again. Don’t over dunk and cook the skin.

  25. AndreaU says:

    I’m brining my roo as I type this. I aged him for 36 hours before popping him into the brine. Never had rooster before but I thought I’d give it a go. Question: has anyone tried the crockpot after the saute process yet? If so, for how long & what were the results? Thanks for any info.

  26. jan levreault says:

    Our roosters (Berg’s Browns) are almost five months old. They are actively breeding the hens and free-ranging about 50% of the time. The meat is quite tough. Does the breeding/free ranging affect this?

  27. jan levreault says:

    P.S. What is the best way to butcher them? What is the use of “cones” in respect to butchering roosters? We understand that the less stress they experience before being butchered the more tender the meat will be, but of course being grabbed by the leg and having it’s head placed on a chopping block is going to be stressful for sure! Thanx for any input!

  28. Emily Poor says:

    This was a fantastic recipe. I made it the night before my inlaws came over and stored it in the cooking pot in the fridge. The next evening I reheated it on the stove and the rooster meat was even more tender than it was after I first cooked it! Thank you.
    One question: have you ever roasted a whole rooster in the oven after the fridge storage step? I wondered if it would still turn out as tender.

  29. Pingback: Hösten är här… | saraidjurriket

  30. Frank says:

    hi, how did you slaughter the rooster? is there a best way to do it? there are so many opinions.

  31. Mrs. Hale says:

    Just came across your page while searching for a way to cook rooster as I’ve heard their meat is tough. We just harvested our first rooster today and he is currently in the brining bowl in the fridge. **excited**

    Question: Has anyone tried this recipe without the booze? I have everything else on hand and am interested in knowing if there is a significant difference.

    I can’t wait to try this out tomorrow…Thanks so much!!

  32. Louiza says:

    Yummy, yummy, yummy! That is all I can say! Amazing recipe! Will make this again and again! Thanks so much!

  33. sunstonefarm says:

    Glad you liked it. It’s a favorite of mine too!

  34. Erika says:

    Made this yesterday in the slow cooker, and thought I’d report back since some have asked. Used two young Easter Egger cockerels that we put in the freezer this summer, about three pounds each. I followed the recipe faithfully except I used chicken stock instead of water, and reduced the liquid by a cup and a half (1.5 cups stock). Browned the chicken, put in slow cooker. Cooked the onions, garlic, tomato paste, seasonings, added the wine and stock, cooked until slightly reduced (10 min or so) then poured over cockerels. Cooked on low for eight hours. Poured the liquid off into a saucepan and thickened with 1.5 Tbsp. corn starch mixed with a bit of water. The result was delicious, and literally falling off the bone tender.

  35. Another great way to prepare rooster is to make coq au vin – just remember to simmer the rooster 3 hours or so to make it tender. And canning a rooster is fantastic too. amanandhishoe.com

  36. jeanene says:

    Thanks so much for this information, I had the misfortune of purchasing 20 birds that all turned out to be roosters and they went through bags and bags of feed. So I got real comfortable with eating them real quick. Lucky me I had a neighbor do the deed. I let everyone of them rest in the fridge for 2 then 3 days and the flavor was good but it was rather tough.. Now I see that I should have had them soaking in something so I will definitely try this method and look forward to great results. unfortunately I only have 3 now to butcher which means I will get one of them. But it was definitely a learning experience. thank you so much for taking the time to help us all out.

  37. Sydney Acres says:

    This is the OMG best rooster recipe I have ever tried. And it’s easy. I have customized it a bit but kept the basic premise. This recipe also works well for salmon (brown the meat well, remove from sauce, cook sauce for 20-30 minutes, then return meat for 5-10 minutes, depending on thickness) and numerous vegetables. I added cauliflower to it 7-8 minutes before taking it off the stove one time and had the best cauliflower of my life!! It’s a great way to cook those giant zucchini that were forgotten in the garden — same sauce, using large zucchini chunks. I use a whole garlic head, grape seed oil (for higher heat during browning, but still all the health benefits of olive oil), apple cider vinegar to dissolve the tomato paste, marsala wine to deglaze the pan after browning the meat and sautéing the onions for 5 minutes, plus garlic for another minute, plus tomato paste for one additional minute, then instead of water I add 15 oz of canned tomato sauce and 1-2 quarts of raw pack home canned heirloom tomatoes (skin and seeds included — just squished raw into a canning jar and processed with a little salt and lemon juice, which retains the FULL flavor or heirloom tomatoes and yields lots of flavorful tomato water, so no need to add any more when cooking). (You could substitute good quality commercially canned tomatoes.) I let that simmer for about 5 minutes, then add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar at a time, mixing thoroughly and tasting after each addition, until the acidity of the tomatoes is properly balanced (it typically takes 1-3 teaspoons of sugar total, depending on the variety of heirloom tomato I used). Then I add back the browned seasoned chicken and simmer for 45 minutes to 3 hours, depending on how tough the chicken is. Typically, a store bought chicken will take only 45 minutes, my 8-9 month old free range cockerels will take about 70-90 minutes, and my 6-7 year old free range roosters will take about 2-3 hours. This recipe is easy, requires no special equipment, can be used for almost any main or side dish ingredient — meat or veggies– and is really healthy if you use grass-fed meats/free range chickens. I have used it with skinless chicken and it’s just as good, for those people watching their calories. The huge amount of garlic combined with cinnamon is reported to have lots of health benefits. I’m not sure all the reported health benefits of garlic have been confirmed with research, but my own little accidental experiment was interesting. A small dish of leftovers got pushed into the back of the refrigerator once, and wasn’t found for 4-5 weeks. Other leftovers from the same time period were disgusting, with numerous molds and other forms of spoilage. But the little dish of garlic/cinnamon laden Corfu Rooster was pristine and still fresh smelling. I put it in the microwave and ate it. It tasted just as good as the day I made it, and I had no ill effects. Hmmm, maybe I’m starting to believe some of those claims about the “antibiotic” effect of garlic.

  38. Sydney Acres says:

    You said that, “My favorite recipes include Coq au Vin, Chicken Paprikash, a Corfu dish Pastisatha (my new favorite), Ajiaco (a delicious Columbian-style chicken stew), and good old boiled chicken to use in pot pies, enchiladas, etc.” Is the Corfu dish Pastisatha the same one as posted above, or is it something different? Also, do you have recipes for the Chicken Paprikash and the Ajiaco that you would be willing to share? I couldn’t find them on this site.

  39. Grace kamanu says:

    This is a beautiful recipe.The rooster was salaiva-rapturing not mentioning mouth-watering.it was as soft as a mashmello.Thanks alot for opening this site#never eat chicken that is like chewing gum

  40. Pingback: How To Cook A Young Rooster | how to cook vegetables

  41. The Corfu rooster dish is the same as the Pastisatha. Isn’t is good! Sorry for late reply. I have a rooster cookbook that I’m finishing that I will make available on the site.

  42. Thanks for the detailed comments!

  43. vass67 says:

    I make this recipe a lot. In my village in Southern Greece we serve it over a bed of spaghetti with lots of freshly grated cheese. I would like to suggest to add to the recipe 5-6 whole allspice and use a cinnamon stick instead of ground cinnamon in the sauce.
    For my rooster and goat cooking, which I both raise and slaughter for meat, I use the crock pot since the meat is so tough. I still use the same method as the recipe to prepare the sauce and brown the rooster before putting in the crock pot. I put it for 6-8 hours and the meat just falls of the bone! If you do use the oven I would slow cook it for at 5-6 hours as well (about 225 degrees) and cover it with foil. When you see the meat coming off the bone it is ready.
    Even my 6 month old roosters are tough. I didn’t know about the aging process and I will definitely be trying it next month as I begin to reduce my rooster flock. Thank you for the tip!

  44. Thanks for your comment! I will try the cinnamon stick and allspice. Sounds lovely!

  45. Kelly Holmes says:

    We are having several roosters processed and vacuum sealed today! If we put them in the freezer, will this allow them to age also or not?

  46. Hi Kelly, freezing is not the same as aging, but if you let them defrost in the fridge for a few days, that will usually do the trick.

  47. sgardner says:

    This is a delicious recipe! Thank you! We loved this over mashed potatoes (1/2 sweet and 1/2 new potatoes.) I butchered and skinned the roosters, dry aged them for a couple days in the fridge, then marinated them in buttermilk for 24 hours before cooking. Flavorful and hearty. I hate to kill our roosters, and am glad to not let any of them go to waste. Having such a yummy recipe that the whole family enjoyed made me feel better about having to dispatch the roosters.

  48. Pingback: Rooster Corfu | Of Goats and Greens

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