Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas stuffed capon -with black trumpet mushrooms, sausage and chestnuts

This is a very traditional, northern Italian Christmas recipe. It is in fact the center of the Christmas day's lunch celebration and rightfully so - it is delicious and looks stunning on the table. Apparently, not everybody knows what a capon is: it is in fact a cock, castrated early in life to develop larger, more tender muscle masses while retaining more intense flavor compared to a regular chicken.

Ingredients: 1 large capon. For the stuffing: At least 1/2 pound of ground beef or more (depending on the size of the capon). 4 'sweet' Italian-style sausages. A handful of dried black trumpet mushrooms -steeped in warm water for at least 30 minutes. 1/4 pound of boiled, peeled chestnuts (available from trader Joe's for example). A slice of white bread soaked in milk, Fresh sage. Salt and pepper.

Preparation. Combine all the stuffing ingredients chopped into little pieces and mix them well by hand. De-bone the capon using the method demonstrated below by Pepin, leaving the wings and legs intact. Season the bird and stuff it liberally. Next, saw the skin back together to resemble the shape of an intact, bone-in bird: first, use a poultry needle and saw the back of the stuffed bird (making sure to pierce regions that have both meat and skin to prevent tearing), tie the drumsticks together and run the string below the back of the bird and around the wings, so that the breast will look tighter and stick out more naturally. Finally, lube the outside with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Rest the bird on a bed of chopped potatoes and cook in a 350 F degree oven for 2 hrs. Enjoy!

Before you start... you can study de-boning with Jacques Pepin