The first coq au vin.

Lulu arrived at 2:15 armed with a small but very sharp knife. She had come to kill the ‘prisoner’.

First she asked me to heat up some water and have a bucket at the ready and then we went up the garden.

She waited outside the run while I went to fetch the condemned cock but he was very suspicious and wouldn’t come out.

I’m too big to get inside the enclosure and he wasn’t taken in by my invitations to come out.

Lulu entered the fray and banged with a stick on the side of the cage.

“Don’t stand too near the door” she said but that meant that when he did come out I wasn’t quick enough to catch him. Off he ran among his friends and we soon lost sight of which one he was.

We waited to see if a fight broke out but it didn’t.

“Oh well, should we go for whichever one we can catch?” sighed  Lulu.

There was general confusion among the birds but I managed to grab one eventually.

We carried him out of the run and took him behind the greenhouse.

There, Lulu asked me to hold on to his wings firmly while she dispatched him.

I have to admit I closed my eyes but didn’t feel any struggling or hear any noise. However, when we got the bucket of hot water to dip him in to make plucking easier he did appear to struggle. I’m hoping Lulu was right when she said he didn’t feel anything but that was the worst part of it as far as I was concerned.

By the time we had plucked him (and it was easy with the hot water method)  I had got used to the idea of eating one of our own birds.

Then it was a lesson in cleaning a chicken. Lulu did it all very deftly as she used to run a chicken farm in Alsace. She told me the chickens were too well fed as there was a lot of fat inside and also that the meat wouldn’t be very tender as they had been ‘running about too much’. And to add insult to injury this bird that had appeared enormous had become a small scrawny object now that he had lost his fluff and feathers.

So that puts paid to my hopes of home grown roast chicken for Christmas. We’re  going to be having an awful lot of coq au vin if the remaining cockerels are to be killed off before winter sets in.




10 Responses to “The first coq au vin.”

  1. Z Says:

    They do have an awful lot of feathers. And if it’s a breed raised for eggs, they aren’t necessarily very meaty. But delicious, I’m sure. We don’t eat our surplus cockerels when we have them (no cock at all at present so no chicks and the situation doesn’t arise) largely because they are so scrawny! Hens are pets in any case, so wouldn’t be cooked for the pot,even if one met with an accident.

    • sablonneuse Says:

      I’m with you, Zoe, we’d never eat our hens. However I don’t want to be in this position again so I probably won’t keep any of the cockerels. I should never have fallen for those eight little chicks. . . . .

  2. guyana gyal Says:

    I was actually rooting for the bad rooster because he’s so clever. Also, because of what Z had said about not punishing the chap for being so strong. I’m not too sure which one you got eventually.

    • sablonneuse Says:

      I don’t know which one is which either, G-G. I could only identify the prisoner because he had been fighting and had blood on him (his opponent as well). However all trace of the fighting had long disappeared by yesterday.

  3. Little old me Says:

    Did she cut his head off? I can dress a pheasant, (de-feather and gut) I would imagine it’s the same process

    • sablonneuse Says:

      She didn’t cut his head off until after we’d plucked him. It seems she is used to using virtually all of a chicken and thought I would use the head and the feet to make soup. However, when I told her I’d be cooking the liver, kidneys etc for the cats she realised the head would be discarded.

  4. bretonne Says:

    But what was it like? and how did you cook it? Our hens are still laying like mad but one of these days it will be poule au pot time…..

    • sablonneuse Says:

      I marinated the legs and breast in red wine, oil etc and then cooked slowly as in coq au vin but, frankly, I was disappointed: quite a lot of it was still tough. I tried to make the leftovers into chicken soup but the ‘whizzer’ jammed because the meat was so tough.
      The most successful part was the chicken stock made from the wings and other less fleshy bits.
      Julie (the home nurse) reckons it should be cooked in a pressure cooker. Unfortunately now that we’ve gone over to induction we can’t use it.

  5. Pat Says:

    Oooh dear! I wouldn’t have any difficulty eating him but Id have to be excused for the killing. Pathetic I know!

    • sablonneuse Says:

      Most French people think it amusing that I can’t kill my own birds but I have met one or two (including one chap) who wouldn’t be able to face the task either.

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