Ain't nothing fowl about Julia Busuttil Nishimura's tasty roast rooster recipe.

Serves 4 


1 Aurum Poultry Co cockerel, feet and head removed and reserved for another use
180g salt
60g sugar
1 fresh bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
Handful of thyme and parsley
1 lemon, quartered
Cracked wheat, pine nut and fig stuffing
150g bulgur (cracked wheat)
1 tbsp unsalted butter, plus extra to grease
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tsp baharat
40g dried figs, roughly chopped
40g toasted pine nuts
Large handful of parsley, roughly chopped, plus extra to serve
Juice and zest of a lemon
Zest of an orange
Salt and pepper, to taste
Full-fat plain yoghurt, to serve 


In a large saucepan, place the salt, sugar, bay leaf, garlic and herbs. Squeeze in the lemon and add it to the pan along with 1 litre of water. Dissolve the sugar and salt over a medium-high heat then remove. Top with 2 litres of cold water and keep the liquid in the saucepan or transfer to a large container that will fit the cockerel. Once chilled, add the cockerel, breast-side down, and weigh down with a plate to keep the cockerel submerged. Brine overnight or at least 2 hours. Remove from the brine, pat dry with paper towel, and transfer to an oiled roasting pan or tray, breast side up. Set aside.  

Preheat the oven to 180C.  

Cook the bulgur in a medium pot of salted boiling water until tender but still a touch firm, 8-10 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.  

Meanwhile, warm the butter and oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the onion for 10-12 minutes or until softened and beginning to colour. Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the baharat and cook for another minute, coating the onion and garlic. Allow to cool.  

Add the bulgur to the onion mixture, along with the remaining ingredients. Season well and drizzle in a little extra olive oil.  

Stuff the cavity of the cockerel with the stuffing. Rub the cockerel skin with butter and season with salt,  

Roast in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, or until the cockerel is cooked through. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. Carve the cockerel and transfer to a serving plate with the stuffing. Top with more parsley and serve with yoghurt drizzled with some olive oil.