We have a tradition when visiting our friends to eat a rooster that has been raised in a house nearby. Be it summer, fall, Christmas or spring, we always have some. Some take longer to cook, some not so much, but that is the one dish everyone waits for. This time, when the trees were full of apples, there was some cider in the basement, and we had lots of herbs. I made this – fall-off-the-bone rooster. It was so juicy and relaxed, I had to attach its legs with toothpicks for this picture, otherwise the scenery would be more on the naughty side.
300 ml cider
2 tbsp Demerara sugar or honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 large apples, seeds out, cut into pieces
2 rosemary sprigs, leaves only
5 thyme sprigs
sea salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
on top and bottom:
1 apple, cut into pieces
4 thyme sprigs
10 ml grapeseed oil
1 garlic head, cloves cleaned
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper, I use Telicherry
Heat the oven to 200°C. Get the cast iron cocotte (the heavier the pan, the better) ready to use. Heat cider with honey or sugar and spices.
Mix all of the filling ingredients. Pat dry the cavity of the rooster and add the apple mixture.
Place the one and only apple on the bottom together with garlic and 2 thyme sprigs. Sit the rooster on top, massage it with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, place thyme on top, and pour in cider (not straight over the rooster, but on the side). Bake covered for 2.5 h*. Take out and serve.
* cooking time depends on the age of rooster. For a young fellow like we had (4 months), it was 2.5h, but older ones should take longer.
Recipe and pictures: Signe Meirane
Camera: Sony Alpha 7s
Plates and table decorations: HM Home