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Wanted: Recipes for roosters

On a whim, I acquired several Cochin
and Easter Egger chicks last summer, to get acquainted with raising back yard chickens. It turned out the seller was getting rid of rooster chicks, and then I lost one of the two hens to a predator. That left one hen and seven free range roosters, who became increasingly loud and obnoxious over the winter. Their worst behavior was jumping on the Easter Egger hen daily, leaving her back in bad shape. I didn't know it, but there is no way a hen should have 7 suitors. All 7 have been inspected, processed, and put into my freezer.

The first one out was a disappointment. Tough roasted meat, lots of flavor, and we all ate small portions politely.

I am looking for ideas to make something good from semi-tough chickens (remember, they were only 8 months old).

I tried a fast cacciatore with the leftovers, but that was a fail.
Chicken soup is obvious, but I want something quicker, more elegant.
I will try fricassee, gumbo, and teriyaki, but I need more ideas, possibly ethnic, where they have to deal with tough chicken. I am sure the portions won't go stringy with long slow cooking, and the breast meat will never be tender and juicy, also never dry.

Any thoughts?

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  1. I don't have a recipe, but what about a tagine? I know it calls for a pretty long cook time.

    1. The "quicker" part is the problem. The best I can think of is to bone the meat and pound the hell out of it with a meat mallet and then cook.

      I have three roosters now that desperately need killing and eating.

      1. Two good replies in minutes! Thanks violapt and kengk

        2 Replies
        1. re: jayt90

          Oh, oops - now I see you were asking for a quick cook time. At about 3 hours or so, a tagine probably won't work!

          1. re: Violatp

            I don't think quick is that important; I have lots of time most days. But maybe thinly sliced and into a wok may work, I just need a little guidance. The tagine is a great suggestion, as I got a wonderful Emile Henry two years ago and use it regularly.

          1. re: grampart

            I would like to do a coq au vin, but I rarely cook with alcohol because it is so heavily taxed in Ontario. The ingredients in the epicurious list would be >$50. here, so it is a bad risk. I might try a truncated version with the smallest bird.

          2. A Korean version of the Japanese tonkatsu, using chicken instead of pork. Should work well if your roosters have a lot of flavor, the pounding should take care of the toughness issue.

            Dakkaseu 닭까스


            Ingredients

            4 boneless skinless chicken thighs or 4 half breasts (approximately 3lb)

            3 eggs

            3/4 cup corn or potato starch

            1/4 teaspoon salt

            1/4 teaspoon white pepper

            4 cloves fresh garlic

            1 cup panko

            oil for frying (about 1 cup)

            Sauce

            3 or 4 Korean (jadu 자두) or Japanese (Suomomo 李 or 酸桃, or すもも, or スモモ) plums, Seeded

            1 tablespoon honey, brown sugar, or sugar

            1 tablespoon soy sauce

            1 teaspoon rice or white vinegar

            1 teaspoon rice cooking wine or mirin

            cornstarch (if needed)

            Seasoned Cabbage

            1/4 medium green cabbage

            2 tablespoons mirin or rice wine (substitute: dry sherry mixed with 1/4 teaspoon sugar)

            1 teaspoon white pepper

            1 teaspoon sugar


            Procedure

            Preparation

            Sauce

            Remove peel and seed from the plum, then either force the fruit through a strainer, or add fruit and liquids to a blender and blend until smooth.

            Combine all ingredients (except cornstarch) in a sauce pan and gently heat to a simmer over low heat.

            Cook for one minute at a slow simmer, adding cornstarch (mix with water to create a slurry) if needed to thicken the sauce.

            Remove from heat and let cool.

            Seasoned Cabbage

            Shred the cabbage into fine, long shreds.

            Place shredded cabbage into a mixing bowl.

            Combine other ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.

            Drizzle seasoned mix over the cabbage and toss.

            Let stand in refrigerator until just before serving time.

            Toss again before serving, transfer to a colander, and drain excess liquid.

            Cutlets

            Trim any excess fat from meat.

            For very thick cuts slice the thigh or breast in half, stopping the cut about 1/4 inch before slicing completely through the meat, then open.

            Using the back edge of a heavy knife, or a tenderizing hammer, pound the meat down to about 1/4 inch thickness.

            Lightly salt and pepper each side of the cutlets.

            Fine chop the garlic cloves (very fine), then place evenly on the top side of the meat. Use the back edge of the knife (or smooth side of hammer) and LIGHTLY pound garlic into the meat.

            Let stand ten minutes.

            Final

            Place starch and panko into separate plates (large enough to hold one cutlet).

            Beat eggs in a flat bowl (large enough to dip one cutlet).

            Arrange containers: Starch - eggs - panko.

            Heat a pan with 1/4 inch neutral flavored oil over high heat.

            Dredge a cutlet through the starch, coating both sides, then dip in egg, and finally dredge through Panko - evenly coating both sides.

            Place coated cutlet in hot pan and cook one to two minutes per side, until medium to dark golden brown.

            Repeat with each cutlet.

            Place an equal amount of seasoned cabbage on each of four plates.

            Slice each cutlet into strips and place on top of the cabbage.

            Serve with white or jasmine rice and dipping sauce.

            1. Cook a long slow time, then use meat and broth for potpie or chicken a la king. Or chop it with fried onions and mushrooms and fill coulibiac, dumpling, ravioli, manicotti.

              1. I hope your poor hen has recovered!

                Wondering if it might also be worth trying to mince some of the meat? Just an alternative thought.

                1. Along with mincing the meat how about a long marinade? I'm thinking lemon/rosemary/garlic/EVOO, or orange/vinegar/soy sauce/olive oil etc., or teriyaki, or anything for that matter...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Gio

                    Living in a semi-rural area, I have been gifted many pets through the years. "Just dont kill them here!"

                    You have discovered why capons are the only commerciallly available rendition of rooster. You also have readily discernable white and dark meat. They are not the same and should not be cooked the same.

                    Citrus, buttermilk, and white wine marinades for 24 hours or longer help to shorten the stewing time for the breasts. A red wine marinade works best for drum sticks and thighs. V 8 juice is my go to when I am looking at cacciatore.

                    A huge 4-5 year old red took over 3 hours in a red wine coq au vin. The flavor was great, but still stringy. I have also road killed them (spatchcocked is the technical term) over a pan of garlic cloves and then used for stock. And the meat is still tough. Mincing it finely and used in a terrine has been one of the best uses I have found.

                  2. The responses I have been getting are really helpful. I'm fairly good with knives, so I will probably debone and cut up the next
                    one, then pound it. From there I may try the Korean recipe, or a marinade and braise, a la king or fricasee. Mincing is a more distant option, as I don't use a food processor, and the old cast iron meat grinder is boxed, but may make an appearance.
                    If pounding really helps, I'll try that with a marinade and southern fried, in a cast iron pan.
                    I'm still looking for peasant/ethnic suggestions, such as Cajun,Creole, Mexican where tough free running hens and roosters are a reality. Our tender chickens in the market, even organic, are very young, bred for rapid growth, and rarely develop breast or leg muscles by flying or running.
                    There is a lot more flavor with outdoor chickens, but even at 7-8 months they will be tough!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jayt90

                      I've never done this with chicken but it works very well for wild turkey. Debone the breast and cut crosswise into 1" thick slices, put the cut side down and pound out to about 1/4" thick, dust in flour and pan fry.