My Well-acquaintance Laura decided to try her hand at making real coq au vin, which, as you may or may not be aware, assumes a mature cock.
The one key thing that is generally understood about traditional Coq au Vin, however, was that it was supposed to be made with a farmyard rooster (hence the “coq” (cock) – and not “poulet” (chicken)).
The chickens we buy in parts in the supermarket today are no more than a couple months old, and they don’t move much in their short lives. That’s why they are so tender. They are still babies.
The traditional coq au vin recipe involves braising a rooster in wine and stock for a really long time to break down the tough meat and connective tissue and to soften it up. That long braising time is how you actually make an old rooster edible. The long braising time also reduces and enriches the wine sauce. The long time to cook is part of the entire point.
As it happened, though, Laura had a big ol’ cock on hand, and so she was off to the races. This is a fun read, but it also makes me want to find a source for mature birds and try it myself.