Cockerel Cooked with Bay & Sherry

This cockerel recipe from “House & Garden” by Sibella Court is one of my favourite alternatives to Coq-au-vin, the Spanish version of a braised chicken – with lots of garlic, bay and sherry. The art of this dish is to try to make the juices of the chicken and the wine emulsify with the garlicky olive oil. I often substitute vermouth when I don’t have sherry available on hand; it does change the flavour profile but makes things interesting.



PREP: 30 minutes
COOK: 30 minutes


1 farm-fresh cockerel, jointed into 8 pieces, skin on (an organic free range chicken works perfectly well too)
1 glug of olive oil for frying
2 heads of garlic, cloves separated, skin-on
6 fresh bay leaves (the difference from dry leaves is immense)
200ml fino or dry sherry
Water or chicken stock to cover
Sea salt & black pepper


Season the cockerel with salt and pepper. Place a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or frying pan with a lid over a medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic cloves and fry gently until slightly golden. Remove with a spoon and set aside. Now add the chicken, in batches, and fry for 3 minutes on either side until golden brown all over. Return the garlic to the pan along with the bay and pour in the wine, shaking the pan as you do so to help the wine emulsify with the oil. Simmer for 2 minutes to evaporate some alcohol, while turning the chicken in the sauce. Stir in the water, cover with a lid (I sometimes make a cartouche out of baking paper to keep the liquid and moisture in) and simmer until the chicken is tender and starting to come away from the bone, about 20 minutes.