STUFFED COCKEREL FOR THE NEW YEAR’S EVE TABLE
The first of January is a milestone day for all the year that follows. The whole planet welcomes the New Year in a very festive way that it has been shaped over time and based on new socio-economic conditions.
In recent decades, with sweeping changes, the landscape has been shaped by new social and economical conditions. They have revived new or old cities' customs such as the gatherings in the city squares with music heard everywhere and fireworks, with the mayors lighting up the festive atmosphere, the Christmas lights illuminating cities, towns and villages, and greetings from far away friends and relatives on the internet and mobile phones.In recent decades, with sweeping changes, the landscape has been shaped by new social and economical conditions. They have revived new or old cities' customs such as the gatherings in the city squares with music heard everywhere and fireworks, with the mayors lighting up the festive atmosphere, the Christmas lights illuminating cities, towns and villages, and greetings from far away friends and relatives on the internet and mobile phones.Old farming customs have either declined significantly or disappeared altogether. Few customs have remained until today such as the first person over the threshold on New Year’s Day, ‘the good hand’ (money which is traditionally given to children who are the first to enter the homeowners’ house), the old housewives carrying icons to the church and returning home with them to step over the threshold of their house, breaking a pomegranate in the backyard of the house for good luck (which we do in Crete), the carols with the young children singing in groups and of course the cutting of the ’Royal Pie’ (cake), which contains a lucky coin for the lucky recipient.But the one that has remained unchanged is the desire for good and abundant food. New Year's dishes are rich, so that such food can be found in the home all year round. There should be nothing bitter on the table. New Year's sweets bring the sweetness and with them the festivities begin. Meat is never excluded from the table on the first day of the year. At Christmas and throughout the rest of the holiday season, pork, sausages, garlic, apples and more dominate.Stuffed turkey as a main dish dominates New Year's Eve. In our villages, stuffed rooster is a dish that traditional housewives prepare for the New Year's table. I recommend this traditional habit for this year's New Year's Eve.I thank the folklorist Leonidas Koudoumogiannakis for the valuable information he has given me about the New Year customs.Happy New Year!
2.5 - 3 kg of cockerel
Salt & pepper
For the stuffing:
1 large dried onion
½ a leek
1 clove of garlic
50ml olive oil
100g of raisins
100g dried apricots
60g pine nuts
3 cups of Carolina rice
50 ml red wine
4 bay leaves
½ teaspoon cumin
Salt & pepper
500ml chicken or vegetable broth
150ml red wine
1 tablespoon of honey
Wash the cockerel and wipe it with absorbent paper. Drizzle with olive oil very well and sprinkle with salt, oregano pepper and inside. Leave covered in the fridge until the filling is done. Chop the chestnuts and put them in a pan with enough water to boil for about 20 minutes. Strain from the water, allow them to cool and then peel them.
In a bowl, put the raisins, apricots and cover with wine. Allow to soften for a while.
Roast the pine nuts in a frying pan.
Cut the liver into small pieces. In a large frying pan put the olive oil, onion, leek, and the garlic finely chopped. Allow to sauté and add the livers. Cook with wine and add laurel, cumin, salt and pepper. Pour the raisins and apricots after straining them first.
Add the rice, stir and gradually add the broth. Leave for 5 minutes and add the pine nuts and chestnuts and stir. Remove from the heat and add the orange zest.
In a casserole, slice the oranges and spread them all over the bottom, and then do the same with the carrots. Put the cockerel in the middle and fill it with the mixture with a spoon, try to stuff it deep. We can close with a whole in the cockerel with a potato or close it with toothpicks.
Pour the broth and 100ml olive oil into the pan. Put a lid on the casserole and bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees near the bottom of the oven for about 2.5 hours. When ready, heat the wine and stir the honey to melt. Slowly cover the cockerel with the mix and bake for another quarter with an open lid.