This Christmas, why not try capon as an alternative to turkey? It has a milder flavour, is more digestible and juicy than turkey and won’t leave you with a fridge full of left-overs for 10 days. In Rome, where this recipe comes from, capon is often served on New Year’s Eve. Ask the butcher to bone the bird for you. Excellent either hot or cold, this dish is traditionally served with peas, tomatoes, fried courgettes, sautéed mushrooms and stewed artichokes. You can cook pheasant, guinea fowl, chicken, turkey, duck, goose and partridge with the same delicious stuffing; I particularly like it with wood pigeon too.
Lay the boned bird out as flat as possible on a wooden board. Remove a little of the meat from the breast and cut it into thin strips. In a bowl mix together the minced and the cubed meats, pour in the Marsala and stir carefully. Add more Marsala if the mixture is a little dry. Shell the eggs and separate the whites from the yolks. Chop the whites finely and mix with the meats. Season with salt. Quarter the yolks. Put the Marsala-flavoured mixture into the bird, laying the strips of breast and the quarters of egg yolk in among it. Close the capon and sew it up with cook’s string, repairing any tears. Place it in a roasting-tin, pour over the oil and dot with the butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 2½ hours, basting occasionally. Remove the bird from the oven and let it rest for 6 minutes before carving.
© 1990 Valentina Harris. All rights reserved.