Lockdown Recipe of the Day: Koq-Roo Vin

Lockdown Recipe of the Day: Koq-Roo Vin
(Photo: Sean Calitz)

The first rule of this recipe is that you have to find a wild guinea fowl and a proper free range chicken. The second rule is that if you compromise on even a single one of these ingredients you will have a second rate meal.

This is an extravagant recipe inspired by some of the most eccentric and interesting souls to traverse the plains of the Camdeboo. From the likes of the great French explorer and ornithologist, Francious Le Vaillant of the late 1700s to the present day Karretjie mense, the gypsies of the Karoo plains and everyone in between. They came from the four corners of the earth, hunted, cooked and ate from the bounty of this very Karoo and brought their influences, eccentricities and flavours to our tables over the centuries. This is my decadent ode to them.

The first rule of this recipe is that you have to find a wild guinea fowl and a proper free range chicken. Ideally you want one of those serious farm cockerels that are all lean and rangy and have legs for days. The second rule is that if you compromise on even a single one of these ingredients you will have a second rate meal. More important, you will be insulting all those who came before and made this beautiful land full of the rich culinary diversity that it is. You seriously don’t want that on your conscience, do you? 

If, however, you do follow this recipe to the letter, you will have the meal of your life.


Serves 6-8

1 whole guinea fowl (cut into pieces)

1 whole rangy free range chicken (cut into pieces)

200 g block of pancetta or top quality fatty bacon, not sliced

3 big onions (roughly chopped)

6-8 carrots (roughly chopped)

250g all purpose flour

200ml Cognac or Armagnac (NOT brandy)

1x 750ml bottle good red wine and some more for the cook

30 small pickling onions (peeled)

250g button or wild mushrooms (the best you can get)

Salt and pepper

Olive oil


Chop pancetta into squares of about 5cm. Boil them for 2 minutes to take out the salt. Remove from water and pat dry. Now put them in a large heavy pan, add oil and fry until crisp. When fried, set aside. Add the onions and carrots to the pan and let them sweat. When the onions are translucent, remove and set aside.

Take your chicken and guinea fowl pieces, rub with salt and pepper and put them into the pan to brown. Then sprinkle over the flour and let it cook a little bit longer, pour over the Cognac, stand back and light it. Flambé! Look out for your eyebrows. Shake the pan around and let the flame die out completely. Add the bottle of wine, the chopped onions and carrots and let it come to the boil. Let it boil for about 5 minutes. 

Take the pan off the heat. Transfer everything into a casserole dish and place in the oven at 200℃ for 45 minutes. While the meat is in the oven, take the pickling onions and glaze in olive oil and set aside. Then put the mushrooms in the pan and cook, seasoning with salt and pepper and set aside. When meat is mostly cooked, remove the pieces, onions and carrots from the casserole dish and set aside. Strain the sauce into a pot. Put the pot on stove and boil it, scooping off any scum until it is beautifully clean and clear. 

Then put everything back in the casserole dish, pour over the sauce and put casserole (lid off) in the oven and cook for 20 minutes at 200℃ until the meat is falling off the bone. 

Sprinkle with chopped flat leafed parsley and serve with new baby potatoes and some more of that great wine. Boun Appetito! DM/TGIFood

Featured in Karoo Food By Gordon Wright (Penguin Random House)

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