Cheeky chicken calzone

Cheeky chicken calzone

A Year of Practiculture
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

There’s not much of a gamble when it comes to raising chickens. When fertilised eggs are activated (i.e. incubated), the odds of getting male or female chicks are about 50–50. That’s why I’ve shied away from commercially grown chickens. The realisation that 50 per cent of the baby chickens born get dumped simply because they’re male and aren’t viable commercially speaking is shocking. And look, it’s just plain insulting! We males really do have to put up with a lot of rubbish from the ladies, and this treatment is just biased and unfair. Just because the females have the nice breasts and rump, while the males are all muscles and leanness …

Jokes aside, I think you’d agree that the fact that all the baby males get discarded in a dumpster – well, it’s just plain shit. So as soon as I found myself living in a place suitable for keeping a few chickens, I set up shop. And yes, when springtime comes and a broody hen sits on the fertilised eggs and activates them, we get 50–50 results. The difference is we allow the roosters a bit more life than just a few weeks. When the guys are 6 months to a year old (teens to mid-twenties in chicken years) I give them the chop.

This year, however, the roosters had other plans. It seems most of them had a death wish! They harassed my egg-collecting girls, and friends and neighbours who came to visit. If only they attacked the unwanted visitors to the house, I’d have kept them a bit longer, but alas they became too much of a problem. I say that in the past tense, because, well, they’re no longer with us. They’re in our bellies! There was one beautiful-looking white cockerel I called Whitey – I know, witty, aren’t I? He looked so strong and beautiful as he grew. With a fine set of tail feathers and a healthy comb, this guy was hot stuff for the ladies.

That is until I started hearing stories from the kids that he’d been chasing them and pecking madly while they stole his girlfriends’ eggs. I thought there may have been some ‘eggsaggeration’ going on, so I let it lie for a while. Until, that is, I saw with my very own eyes the evil-spirited bastard attack the smallest kid. She screamed in fear as his feathers puffed up and he got in the air to attack her. In a second I ran out from the kitchen, grabbed him by the neck, and snap! Twist and wriggle. It all happened so fast. I held the shaking dead bird in one hand and tried to console the screaming child with the other. In any case, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The boys had to go. All of them. Too much cock in the hen house is bad news for the hens, good news for our bellies!


Quantity Ingredient
1 cheeky cock
3 eggplants
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 capsicum, roasted
handful thyme
handful oregano
200g ricotta
50g mozzarella, cubed
handful olives, pitted and chopped
wild mushrooms, finely chopped, (optional)
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1 Pizza bases
plain flour, for dusting
1 egg, lightly beaten
dried oregano, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven to 200–220°C.
  2. Gently poach the rooster in water for 3–4 hours, until the meat slips from the bones. Allow to cool, then separate all the meat from the bones, chop it into small pieces and transfer it to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Heat a chargrill pan on the stove top over high heat. Slice the eggplants lengthways, drizzle them with a little olive oil, then grill them on the chargrill pan, slice them into small pieces and add to the mixing bowl.
  4. Grill the capsicum on the chargrill pan until soft, then slice it and then add it to the mixing bowl.
  5. Pick all the thyme and oregano leaves from the stems, then chop them and add to the mixing bowl with the cheeses, olives and wild mushroom, if using. Season with salt and pepper, and give it all a thorough mix.
  6. Roll out the pizza base on a lightly floured bench to 1 cm thick, spoon a wad of the mixture onto one half of the base, then fold the other half over and seal it by pressing the edges with a fork. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle over some dried oregano to be a bit old-school.
  7. Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until golden.
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