In a large pot place the pieces of cockerel, onion, carrot, leek, celery, garlic, wine, spices, salt and pepper. Cover with cling film and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat oven to 150 Celsius. Drain the marinade into a bowl, remove the vegetables.
In a saucepan, heat half the olive oil and sauté the meat for about 8-10 minutes, until well browned on all sides. Transfer the cockerel to a dish and sauté the vegetables in the same pan with the remaining olive oil for 6-8 minutes, until softened.
Deglaze with the liquid from the marinade and cook for 5-7 minutes until it comes to the boil. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and place the meat on top. Roast in the oven for about 2 hours, until the cockerel is cooked (note that the breast pieces cook faster than the brown meat).
Remove the meat and vegetables from the pot, strain the liquid and with a spoon remove the fat on the surface (for better results, chill the liquid in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes for the fat to solidify before removing). Blend the liquids in a food processor with as many of the vegetables required to obtain the necessary texture for a thick gravy. Boil the gravy for 2-3 minutes so the flavors combine.
Serve the rooster with plain rice or mashed potatoes and the vegetable sauce.
* Originally published in Gastronomos Magazine, Dec 15 Issue.
- 1 large cockerel (about 2½ kg), cut into 10 portions
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, finely chopped
- the white part of 1 leek, finely chopped
- 1 stick celery, chopped
- 1/2 a head garlic with the cloves intact, or according to preference
- 750 ml red wine, preferably Merlot or Syrah
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 star anise
- 100 ml olive oil
- Salt, freshly ground pepper to taste