Rooster, beans & greens

Rooster, beans & greens

A Year of Practiculture
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

This is a real homesteaders’ meal if I ever saw one. Roosters are definitely not unwanted in our backyard. We only need to keep one, but the rest we love to raise for their meat. We only get a few each year from what we raise ourselves, but thankfully we have a mate with an incubator, so we pass our eggs on to him to be cooked. Sounds weird, doesn’t it, but it’s a good system, and it’s been working well for a few years now, so I think we’ll just continue.

When the roosters are teenagers, they start getting all huffy with each other, trying to sort out who’s boss. ‘It’s hard on the peace, and it’s hard on the furniture’ – John Cleese, Silverado. Classic. The day comes when I’ve had enough of cockfighting, and I’ll process all the birds at once. It’s a gross job, but I eat meat so I have to kill the animal to cook it. I wish more meat-eating people would experience this process. It sure makes you appreciate your food.

This meat keeps well in the chest freezer. We bring it out for special occasions and when we’re totally sick and tired of cooking rabbit. I have to tell you, though, never in my life have I appreciated variety the way I do living this way. I have pork, venison, rooster, goose, quail, duck, teal, trout, eel, hare, kangaroo and even lamb. We don’t eat meat all the time, but when we do it’s really nice to have a range of different types to cook with. Only since I’ve been doing the dirty work myself have I eaten such a diverse selection of meats. It’s nice. Should have done it years ago.


Quantity Ingredient
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic bulb, cloves separated, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 naughty teenage cockfighting rooster, quartered
250ml pinot grigio
480g cooked dried beans, such as cannellini, scarlet runner or borlotti beans
2 cups rainbow chard or silverbeet, finely chopped
50g butter
90g pecorino, grated


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Heat a glug of olive oil in a flameproof casserole dish over medium heat on the stove top. Cook the garlic, cumin seeds and rosemary (smells amazing), moving them around for a minute or two. Add the rooster and brown on all sides. Pour over the wine and allow some to cook off. Pour in 250–500 ml water and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat, pop on the lid and transfer to the oven for 30 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat down to 130°C and cook for a further 3–4 hours, or until the meat is tender. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then take out the rooster, remove the meat from the bones and shred, discarding the bones.
  4. Strain the stock and transfer to a clean large saucepan over medium heat with the beans, chard and shredded meat. Cook for 5–10 minutes, or until the chard has softened.
  5. Stir in the butter and pecorino until melted, then serve.
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