This month, Charlie dons his chef hat, and gets ready to create some Thanksgiving traditions of his own.
It’s that time of year again— when food, fun, and merriment take center stage and the holiday season commences. I especially get excited about the food (no surprises there). But decided that this time I will take to the kitchen and offer more than my cute visage (although that in itself is offering a lot) looking up from below, eagerly anticipating any slips of the wrist that could result in scraps falling in a southerly direction.
I want to be involved in the cooking, so I’m taking a leaf from the book of my new hero, Joe Bonaparte, at the Culinary Institute here in the Market Common. Joe spends his days thinking about and working with food, so he’s really the perfect person for me to emulate. Since I do the former all day anyway, I figured I’m half-way to reaching my goal before I’ve even begun. Anyhow, he shared a main course recipe with me which he dubbed luxurious— and we all know I’m a pampered pooch— so this seems the perfect way to get me and keep me interested just in case it being food wasn’t enough. Also, it’s practical, as it’s an ideal recipe for small gatherings— which given our Covid climate this year, may supplant many people’s otherwise large get-togethers.
So here we have it: Roasted Capon Stuffed with Foie Gras and Truffles. Joe writes, “A capon is a male chicken that has been neutered. It has been fed roughly twice as much of a special corn-based diet than standard chickens are fed. The care given in raising capons results in a very flavorful, juicy, and meaty bird. They range in size from about 5 to 9 pounds, making them a perfect substitute for a turkey. Add to that a few specialty items, and you have a meal fit for royalty. I’d recommend pairing the capons with a nice Pinot Noir; add with it a dish of glazed turnips, carrots, and rutabaga; and basic mashed potatoes.”
Well, I don’t know about you, but I feel like I was born royalty. At the very least I was born for enjoying good times with good friends, whilst partaking of good food. Joe mentioned that if you can’t find fresh truffles, you can get a can get canned whole ones, or truffle peelings which will work fine for our purposes. The foie gras can be procured fresh or frozen, and grade B, a little less pricey than grade A, should do the trick nicely. I know to trust Joe when he says things like this, because he’s a man who knows his food items and is very particular when it comes to quality and sustainability.
Roasted Capon Stuffed With Foie Gras and Truffles
Start one day in advance:
- 1 each Capon – about 5 pounds – you can substitute a nice large free range chicken if you prefer
- ¼ – pound butter softened
- 1 small truffle or 1 tablespoon truffle peelings – chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the butter, chopped truffle and a small amount of salt and pepper. Wash and dry the capon. Put your fingers under the skin of the bird to loosen the skin. Do it from the top of the breast, and from the neck. Do not tear the skin. Take dabs of the butter and put it under the skin. Push it as far under as you can. Press down on the skin to push the butter around onto the meat. Place the chicken in the refrigerator over night. If you leave it uncovered it will help to make it crispier, but it is not necessary. Remember to put it on the bottom shelf. Do not let it sit over other food.
- 1 each lobe of foie gras – cleaned, cut into ½ inch dice- to clean the foie gras let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Turn the lobes over so the rough side is facing up. Separate the lobes. Use some tweezers and find the veins and pull them out. Do not worry if you are very neat. You are dicing the meat up anyway. Remember; cooking is fun, don’t sweat it, and be adventurous!
- ¼ pound pancetta – ¼ inch dice
- 1 each chicken liver (only if your chicken came with one)
- 9 slices of white bread, crust removed cut into ½ inch dice
- 1 each onion – small dice
- 1 pound button mushrooms steamed and sliced
- 1 each small black truffle or 1 tablespoon truffle peeling chopped (if using truffle peeling, put about 1 tablespoon of the truffle juice in the stuffing)
- 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped chervil
- Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Season the foie gras with salt and pepper. Quickly sauté the foie gras in batches. Do not crowd the pan. If the pan is hot, about 30 seconds should be enough to sear it and give it a little color. Set the foie gras aside. Drain the fat as you go, but reserve it.
- Sauté the pancetta in the same pan with a little reserved foie gras fat. Remove when crisp and reserve.
- Season the chicken liver if using with salt and pepper. Sauté in the same pan with a little of the fat. Remove and dice into small pieces. Reserve.
- Sauté the breadcrumbs in some of the reserved fat until golden remove and reserve.
- Sauté the onion until tender and a little golden. Remove. Then sauté the mushrooms until they release their liquid and the liquid evaporates. Season with salt and pepper.
- Mix the foie gras, pancetta, chicken liver, bread, onion, mushrooms, truffles, and herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
To Cook the Capon
Preheat the oven to 475 F
2 – onions 1 – cup pinot noir
1 – Carrot 1 ½ – quarts low sodium chicken broth
1 – Stalk Celery 1 – bay leaf
- Stuff the capon with the stuffing and truss.
- Brush the skin of the bird with a little melted butter. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cut the onions, celery, and carrot into 1 inch pieces.
- Place the vegetables in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place the capon on top of the vegetables.
- Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Baste the chicken quickly. Turn down the oven to 325. Add 2 cups broth to the vegetables to keep them from burning during the roasting process. Roast for about 1 ½ to 2 hours, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees or the juices run clear. Remove from the oven, remove from the pan and loosely cover with foil, letting it rest. During this time the temperature will continue to rise past 165 (the required temperature to kill any harmful bacteria). It will also redistribute its juices during this time.
- Place the roasting pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Add the wine and stir. Scrap the bottom of the pan to remove any cooked on food. Let cook for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and the bay leave. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Skim the grease from the surface as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning. Strain and serve the chicken jus on the side in a gravy boat or small bowl. If you have any leftover truffle dice it up and add it to the jus. It will be magnificent.
Carve and serve the chicken with the stuffing in the traditional manner.