Pan fried rook with vine fruits served with couscous

Delight your dinner guests with Alan Coxon's deliciously different recipe for rook - luckily, it works just as well with pigeon!
By Alan Coxon
Pan fried rook with vine fruits served with couscous
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 55 g onions, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 55 g tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and diced
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 250 g couscous
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

For the rook:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 rook breasts, boned
  • black pepper
  • 3 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp thyme, leaves only
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 small carrot, finely diced
  • 100 g currants, soaked in 3 tbsp brandy
  • 100 g sultanas, soaked in 3 tbsp brandy
  • 225 ml robust fruity red wine
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 100 ml chicken stock
  • 2 tsp clear honey
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 30 g butter

Tips and Suggestions

The rook is a large black member of the crow family. Similar to Carrion Crow, distinguished at close range by paler bill and patch of pale bare skin at back of bill. Also has flatter forehead giving subtle appearance of peaked crown. Also habitually different, nesting in large groups known as 'rookeries' in copses and small groups of trees. Often seen feeding in fields in large numbers, sometimes with Jackdaw groups.


1. Make the couscous. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a moderate heat and add the onion, carrot and celery. Cool for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened.

2. Add the spices and stir well, cooking for a further 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add the tomato and stock and bring to the boil.

4. Add the couscous stir well, bring back to the boil and remove from heat.

5. Add the butter, stirring well. Cover and leave to stand for 2 to 3 minutes.

6. For the rook, heat the oil in a heavy based pan. Season the rook breasts with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then rub all over with the crushed garlic and thyme and leave aside.

7. Add the onions and carrot to the pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Turn the heat up and add the rook breasts, fry quickly on all sides to seal.

8. Pour over the brandy from the soaking vines fruits and flame the birds. When the flames have died down, add the vine fruits followed by the wine and wine vinegar and bubble until reduced.

9. Add the stock and honey and bring to a simmer.

10. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then remove the breasts, cover and keep warm. Reduce the liquid in the pan until almost syrupy and then strain it. Add the butter and whisk thoroughly. Serve the breasts with the sauce accompanied by the couscous.

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