Photo © Cloudy Rhodes

A maturing free ranging cockerel offers deeper flavour and a coarser texture than a hen, it makes for a superb flavoursome meal. Cook in plenty of good stock for extra flavour and sound nutrition. The acidity of the wine also helps to soften the meat and sinews while the low temperature and a long time cooking ensure the meat is not too dry or tough. I like to cook this dish in a roomy enamelled casserole pot, it makes the perfect stove to table ‘one pot’ winter meal. A ceramic (lead free) slow cooker is another option.

3 tablespoons ghee or duck fat

1 truly free range cockerel, rinsed and well dried inside and out

12 eschalots, peeled

1 head purple, new seasons garlic, peeled

4 carrots, in bite size wedges

1 fennel cut in wedges

1 cob of corn kernels (optional)

1 large leek, cut in medium dice and then well washed

10 white peppercorns

½ bunch thyme

½ bunch flat leaf parsley

2 bay leaves

1 bottle of biodynamic shiraz

1.5 litres gelatinous chicken stock (check seasoning before adding salts)

Sea salt and or fish sauce, to taste, this dish cooks a long time and the liquids reduce so don’t over season at the start, adjust towards the end

Add lots of freshly chopped thyme and flat leaf parsley at the end of cooking

Heat the cooking pot and add the fat

Sauté  the eshallots until they are starting to brown all over

Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes

Turn these into a bowl and set aside, put the pot back on the stove

Brown and seal the cockerel then sit it breast bone up

Add back the eschallots and garlic and the remaining ingredients

Bring to a gentle simmer

Turn the heat down, place a lid on the pot and simmer very gently for 2-2½ hrs

The meat will be falling from the bones

Remove and discard the cooked herbs and add the fresh

Serve with plenty of the cooking liquor, barely wilted greens and boiled kipfler potatoes,

naturally fermented (cultured) vegetables and a glass of delicious red wine

Give thanks for the bird that feeds you so well