Saturday, May 16, 2009
As you know, I am a true lover of poultry (see here for duck, and here for pheasant). So, when I found a Capon in the freezer section at Price Chopper I was pretty excited. A capon is a rooster that has been castrated when young and this results in a large, fatty bird that is less aggressive than your everyday cock of the walk. The process is known as caponisation, which is the greatest word to enter my vocabulary in quite a while. From know on I am going to threaten to caponize my enemies. In the past, capon was a fairly common alternative to female chickens or pullets. The wiki says something about it being common knowledge that monks had a certain weakness for capon which is pretty funny. Anyhow, I decided to buy this 8 pound bird and roast it up to see what it was like. I paid a little over 8 dollars, so it was a fairly inexpensive experiment.
Here he is thawed and removed of his packaging-
I read up on methods of dealing with capon and saw lots of references to brining them. I did not have the time, patience, or a big enough bucket to do this so I decided to simply roast it. I rubbed the capon all over with butter that I pulsed in my processor with a bunch of herbs (parsley, marjoram, basil, and thyme). A little salt and cracked pepper and into the oven he went. I started off at 450 for 20 and then lowered it down to 375 for about two hours, basting throughout. I made a minor miscalculation and did not lower the rack sufficiently, so I got a little burning on the top of the bird. This was only a minor tragedy as some of the skin remained nicely brown and the bird was actually very juicy despite the appearance.
I let the bird rest for a few minutes and then sampled the breast meat. I liked it, it had a very pronounced "chicken" flavor and was somewhat more toothsome than a normal roaster. As always, it is pretty hard to describe the flavor precisely. As for the dark meat, it was very rich and tasty. The legs were huge, almost like turkey drum sticks. On the down side, this is way more poultry than I can consume on my own. The wife won't help out, apparently capon is one of the thousands of foods that fall into her "weird" category. It looks like I am going to have quite a lot of capon soup taking up room in my freezer, but maybe I can think of something else to do with the leftovers.
As I needed some poultry fat for the Choucroute Garnie that I am planning to make with my homemade sauerkraut, I reserved the fat from the roasting pan. I can not wait to make this dish which is the ultimate expression of conspicuous pork consumption.