Pot-roasted Cockerel


2 tbsp vegetable oil
250g (8oz) pancetta or thick-cut bacon,diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 leeks, washed and sliced into rounds
1 cockerel (3 kg – 4 kg  / 6 lb – 7 lb)
600ml (20 fl oz) chicken stock
6 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves

Serves:  6-8    Prep time:  15 mins     Cook time:  2 hours
Cals per serving:  339     Fat: 26g

Step One: Heat the oven to 180oC (gas mark 4).

Step Two:  Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the pancetta, garlic and leeks, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes or until the leeks have softened.

Step Three: Place the cockerel, breast-side up, in a roasting tin that is just large enough to hold it and four in the stock to a depth of 2 cm.  Add the pancetta, garlic and leeks and tuck in the thyme and bay leaves around the sides.  Cover tightly with foil and cook in the oven for 2 – 2 ½ hours (plan the roasting time for your cockerel at 15 minutes per 450g / 1 lb), basting occasionally with the pan juices. Remove the foil for the last 20 minutes to allow the cockerel to brown.

Step Four:  Leave the cockerel to rest in the pan for 30 minutes and cover with foil while you finish off preparing the vegetables.

Step Five:  To serve, remove the cockerel to a warm dish.  Skim any fat off the sauce, then taste and season with salt and pepper.  Remove the thyme and bay leaves and transfer the sauce (and leeks) to a jug.  Serve the cockerel with the sauce.

Tip:  For the best results, the cockerel should be allowed to reach room temperature before going in the oven.

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Beef & Beer Casserole

Serves 4

Ingredients: 1 lb (450g) lean stewing steak; 1 jar Marks & Spencer Beer and Onion Casserole Sauce; 1 dsp horseradish sauce

Preheat the oven to 150-180oC/300-350oF, gas mark 2-4. Place steak in a casserole dish. Add Sauce, cook in oven for 3-4 hours. Just before serving, stir in the horseradish sauce. Serve with unlimited potatoes and other vegetables.

Beef and Mushroom Stew

This stew really does look after itself. The beef is simmered slowly to produce the most delicious stock, which gives a really glossy, well-flavoured sauce. If using a pressure cooker, cook the stew for 50 minutes. You can also add a bay leaf, orange peel, fresh thyme or Worcester sauce to help liven up the other flavours.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients: Cooking oil; 2lb (900g) stewing steak, cut into 1 1/2 in (4cm) cubes; 3 onions, sliced; 1 garlic clove, crushed; 2 glasses red wine (about 8 fl oz/250ml); 1 lb (450g) button mushrooms; 1· packet Crosse & Blackwell Bonne Cuisine Madeira Wine Gravy or White wine Gravy; Salt and pepper

* Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry half the steak for a few minutes to seal. Repeat with the rest and set aside.
* Place the onions, garlic and red wine in a large pan and boil until reduced by half. Add the sautéed steak and 2 pints (1.2 litres) water, bring to a gentle simmer, then cover and cook for 1 hour. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 30-40 minutes. You could also add some sliced carrot and celery to the stew at this stage.
* When beef is tender, mix gravy powder with a little water until smooth. Stir in and simmer for 5 minutes. If sauce is too thin, boil and reduce. Season to taste and serve.

Pot-roasted Chicken with Onions and Tarragon

This dish is double delicious because it is almost a soup starter and a main course in one big pot! The sliced onions are packed into a braising dish with a bunch of tarragon and a chicken sitting on top. As the bird roasts, its juices flavour the onions. Add chicken stock, and you get the consistency of a rich broth or liquor. It’s up to you how much stock you add.

Serves: 4

Ingredients: 1oz (25g) butter; 6-8 onions, halved and sliced; salt and black pepper; 1 garlic clove, crushed, optional; 1 bunch of tarragon; 1 x 3 ½ – 4 lb (1.5 – 1.75kg) chicken; 10-15 fl loz (300-450ml) chicken stock; knob of butter, optional

  • Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF, Gas Mark 6. Using a knob of the butter, grease a large, deep braising dish and three-quarters fill with the sliced onions. Season lightly with salt and black pepper. Add the garlic clove, if you’re using it, and half the bunch of tarragon.
  • Rub the skin of the chicken with the remaining butter. Sit the chicken on top of the onions and season with lots of salt and black pepper. Place the braising dish in the oven. The total cooking time will be between 1 ¼ – 1 ½ hours.
  • Halfway through the cooking time (about 40mins), add 10 fl oz (300ml) of the chicken stock. Add more stock if you prefer the liquor to have a thinner consistency and baste some of the liquor over the chicken. Return to the oven for the remaining cooking time.
  • The onions should cook much quicker now and the liquor should resemble onion soup.
    When the chicken is golden brown and tender, remove from the oven and check the seasoning and consistency of the liquor – 10 fl oz (300ml) will be enough to serve four. Remove the tarragon. Pick and chop the remaining half bunch, and add to the liquor. For a richer, finish, add the knob of butter to the liquor.
  • Spoon liquor into large soup bowls, divide chicken into portions and sit them on top. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the liquor.