Capon Christmas Dinner
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5.5KG capon from Caldecotts Farm in Worcestershire. http://www.caldecottfarms.co.uk/ With a turkey, chestnut and cranberry stuffing, roasted on a bed of carrots, onions, celery and sweet wine soffritto. 5.5KG Capon took less than 3 hours to cook and always a million times nicer and more juicy than turkey.
- 1 whole Capon (mine was exactly 5.5KG). Smaller once are produced outside the festive season. Usually, they're minimum 2.5KG
- 50 g chestnuts roughly chopped (for stuffing)
- 250 g Turkey mince (for stuffing)
- 1/2 gal madeira wine, port or sherry or any sweet wine (for stuffing)
- 1 tbsp olive oil (for stuffing)
- 1-2 tbsp salt and pepper (for stuffing)
- 5-6 whole fresh sage leaves finely chopped (for stuffing)
- 2 whole sprigs of rosemary finely chopped (for stuffing)
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter (for stuffing)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries or currants (for stuffing)
- 1 whole red onion finely chopped (for stuffing)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (for stuffing)
- 5-6 whole sage leaves finely chopped (for soffritto)
- 1-2 whole sprigs rosemarry finely chopped (for soffritto)
- 2-3 whole sticks of celery chopped into 2cm chunks (for soffritto)
- 2-4 whole carrots roughly chopped into 2cm pieces (for soffritto)
- 1 whole red onion roughly chopped (for soffritto)
- 2 whole bay leaf (for soffritto)
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil (for soffritto)
- 3-4 whole gloves garlic roughly chopped (for soffritto)
- 1.5 gal madeira wine, port or sherry or any sweet wine (for soffritto)
- 1-2 tbsp salt and pepper (for soffritto)
Pre-Heat Oven To 200 Degrees Celsius
Make sure your oven is pre-heated
To Make The Stuffing
To a frying pan on medium heat, add the olive oil, unsalted butter, rosemary, sage, cranberries and onions and saute until the onions have softened. pour out into a bowl and allow to cool. You must allow this mixture to completely cool before mixing it into the turkey mix and other ingredients for the stuffing. To a bowl, add the turkey mince, chestnuts, breadcrumbs and the onion mix. pour in the wine and mix really well with hands or wooden spoon. Make sure its nicely combined.
Make The Soffritto
Have a high sided frying pan on medium to high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, add the onions, celery, carrots and bay leaf along with the sage and rosemarry and all ingredients listed for the soffritto. Saute for 1-2 minutes. At this stage, add the garlic and saute until aromatic. Don't over-cook as they will continue to cook in the oven. Pour in a glass of the wine and cook for one minute until the alcohol has evaporated. Then pour the whole mixture into your roasting tray evenly.
In the meantime, get the capon, season the inside of the cavity generously with salt and begin to stuff with the turkey stuffing. Make sure to not over-stuff the capon so it can cook evenly. I closed the opening with a two toothpicks. you can do so with half a lemon as well. You can tie the legs together just to hold the bird together whilst roasting. Massage the capon all over with some olive oil, season with cracked black pepper.
Usually, you need to cook the capon for 30 minutes per KG. place the capon it on top of the saute'd vegetables in the roasting tray BUT place the capon in upside down so its the breast that is touching the roasting tray.
Cover with tin foil and place into the oven and cook with the tin foil on for half of the overall cooking time. My capon took three hours, so I cooked the first stage with the tin foil on for 1.5 hours. After 1.5 hours, take the pan out of the oven, remove the tin foil and turn the capon over gently so that its the right way up with breast showing. Season with sea salt and pour one glass of red wine into the pan along with a few whole chestnuts. Reduce the heat to 180 degrees Celcius and cook for another 1.5 hours.
Capon served on bed of the vegetables along with the stuffing and whatever trimmings you fancy.
Alternatively, you could also cook the capon in the same way but not stuff it.
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