Rooster: It's what's for dinner

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I cooked my first rooster last weekend.

I had reservations. I thought the meat would be tough. I thought it would taste too “gamey.” I thought it would smell like a barnyard.

I was wrong.

Penny Jordan of Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth was kind enough to put together a few items for me when I was unable to place my Cape SoPo Online Market order last week. I usually try items from Green Sparks Farm in South Portland and Alewive’s Brook Farm in Cape to get an array of vegetables, cheese, fish and something I’ve never heard of or cooked before.

When I picked up the food, I found Jordan had packed onions, carrots, garlic, beets, tomatoes, a delicious loaf of bread, goat cheese yogurt – and the rooster.

According to Caitlin Jordan of Alewive’s Brook Farm, the rooster was only 6 months old. I thought it would be much older and therefore really tough. But besides being male, having smaller breasts and larger legs, there is no real difference in flavor between chicken and rooster, she said.

I took the bird home and watched about 10 videos on how to break down a chicken. Although it wasn’t pretty, I did it. I cut the breasts, which were much smaller than a chicken’s, and thighs and drumsticks, which were much larger, and was left with a carcass. I used the legs and breasts, wings and thighs for a crock pot stew and used the carcass to make a soup with the vegetables Penny provided.

It was awesome, it was rooster and I’d do it again.

Spiced rooster stew

1 rooster, broken down
2 teaspoons each of paprika, cumin, turmeric, cayenne powder, granulated garlic
salt and pepper to taste
2 to 5 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking
2 large onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth or water

Sprinkle salt and pepper and the mixed spices over the pieces of rooster.

In a large cast iron or heavy saucepan heat two tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat and brown the rooster pieces. If needed, add more oil as the rooster browns. Don’t worry about cooking the poultry all the way, just brown the  bird, then remove from heat and set aside.

Add more oil to the same pan and cook the garlic and onion about 8 minutes.

Then, place the onion, garlic and browned rooster pieces in the crock pot.

Add white wine or water or stock to the hot pan to deglaze – to get all the stuck on bits of rooster, onion and garlic. Add the liquid and pan bits to crock pot.

Cook the bird, onion and garlic on high for three hours. Turn heat to low for one hour, then remove bird from crock pot and pick the meat from the bones. Discard the skin and bones.

Using an immersion or regular blender, mix remaining liquid from the crock pot to make a sauce or gravy. The rooster pieces are great served over brown rice, couscous or pasta topped with the sauce from the crock pot.

Homemade chicken or rooster soup

1 rooster carcass
2 potatoes, roughly cut into bite-sized chunks
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 carrots, roughly chopped
5 mushrooms, large chop
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 teaspoon each of cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
water or chicken stock

Place the rooster carcass in a large soup pot and cover with water. I had some leftover chicken stock, so I used 3 cups chicken stock and 5 cups water, but using only water is fine.

Bring the water to a boil and then simmer, covered for 1 1/2 hours. Using a large spoon, occasionally remove any fat or impurities off the top of the liquid as it simmers.

Strain the broth into a container and remove any meat from the carcass. Let the broth cool for a while and discard the bones and skin.

In the meantime, cook the carrots, mushrooms, celery, garlic, and onions in the olive oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until the carrots and celery begin to soften.

Add some herbs and spices to the vegetables – I used red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, cumin and smoked paprika, but rosemary, thyme, bay leaf or any herbs will do.

Take the cooled broth and put it back in the soup pot. Add the vegetables to the broth and now add the potatoes and meat picked from the carcass. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bring soup to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for half an hour.

Enjoy the soup as is, or add pasta or rice for more texture.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or

Sidebar Elements

Every bit of this rooster was used to create a hearty soup and a spicy crock-pot meal.

Browning the rooster pieces.