Posts tagged ‘holidays’
Here is an easy, straightforward method good for oven roasting a perfect capon for the holidays, or anytime you want to serve this fabulous bird. The method works for birds whether or not stuffed with dressing. Truss the capon first, as it will make turning the bird easier and help prevent the skin from tearing at the joints in the process. It is also a good method for roasting other large chickens.
The Holiday Capon Part 2
Two Stage Roasting
Roasting begins on the lower middle oven rack in a preheated 450°F oven, then 30 minutes into the roasting the heat is reduced to 350°F for the remainder of the cooking time. This jump-starts the browning process and sears the meat, sealing in precious juices. As mentioned, you turn the bird a few times in the process, and baste every 10 or 15 minutes. Rub the capon with our pure, renderedduck fat, lightly softened before gently ‘massaging’ it into the skin. Season the capon with a good salt and freshly ground pepper before putting it in the oven, and baste with melted duck fat until the bird creates enough of its own pan juices for basting.
If you are using an x-shaped rack, you can start the bird breast down for about 15 minutes. Then turn the bird on one side for 20 minutes, then onto its other side for 20 minutes. After that, turn the bird breast up and finish roasting. You can easily coordinate this with your basting. If you use a flat rack, forget about starting breast down, and instead start roasting on one side, then turn onto the other, giving each side an extra five minutes, and finish roasting breast up.
For a 7- pound capon, this should take about 1-1/2 hours. Use a quick read meat thermometer to test the internal temperature for doneness. Transfer it Read more
Trussing is a means of binding a bird before cooking, to hold the wings and legs close to the body. This gives the bird a compact shape, often enhancing the symmetry in the process; and making for more even cooking, a beautiful presentation, and simplified carving. Some recipes call for turning a bird during roasting which is also much easier when trussed, and it will help prevent tearing the skin at the joints in the process. Of course, a full trussing will also help to hold in the dressing when a bird is stuffed.
No matter what method you choose, it is always a good idea to truss a bird – pure and simple. The only real exception would be if you plan to butterfly or spatchcock it before cooking. Untrussed legs on a whole bird may gape away from the body or even fall off, while the drumstick and wings stick up and dry out… Need we say more?
What’s Good for the Goose…
As with many cooking techniques, there are several types and styles of trussing, some suited to particular types of fowl. Since turkeys, capons and chickens share similar physical attributes, the same types of trussing and roasting methods will do for all of them. Geese and ducks on the other hand, have a narrower body and thicker skin with an abundance of good fat, which requires different trussing and roasting altogether. Smaller birds the likes of game hens and squabs need trussing only enough to bind the legs.
First Things First
Regardless of the technique you choose, a few things need doing beforehand. First, remove the neck and gizzards and reserve for making stock or perhaps as ingredients for your stuffing. Next, take a good look at the shape of the bird. Trussing will give you an opportunity to slightly cinch up the Read more
If you are considering an intimate holiday for two, or even a dinner party of six, and in a quandary about the practicality of a full on turkey versus stuffed chicken to stand-in for a celebrity bird, there is no need to fret any further, because we have the perfect solution. Forget about those two this holiday, and do something truly special and better scaled to your needs, by oven roasting a capon.
The Holiday Capon (Part 1)
Smaller than a Turkey – Bigger than a Basic Chicken
If you are not familiar with this hefty bird, do not think for a minute that a capon is a compromise you have to make because you are not feeding a small army. Quite the contrary, these extraordinary birds are raised exclusively to be a culinary treat of the highest order. Plump breasted with prized, white flesh wonderfully marbled with fat; capons are destined for greatness and can easily carry any holiday feast. It can be especially gratifying for the cook, as this is not a bird upstaged by any dressing or side dish. When you are lucky enough to have the pleasure of eating an oven-roasted capon, you will find the meat distinctively flavorful, lusciously rich and moist, and tender beyond belief. So much so, that this could be the start of a new tradition. At the very least, you will not want to wait another whole year before enjoying one again.
The News Just Keeps Getting Better
Another beauty is that there is no elaborate recipe, complex technique, or special handling required. Fill this bird with your favorite dressing, or season the cavity with a good sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and truss it. After, you just rub it with softened, rendered duck fat, salt and pepper the skin and oven roast, similarly to roasting a large chicken. You might even want to try on some new cooking methods to go with your new bird. In the Gascon countryside, capons are the traditional Sunday Chicken cooked as Poule au pot – slowly poached in a pot of vegetables and rich stock, and stuffed with a delicious soft dressing. Here are links to two of our favorite capon recipes.
The Well Trussed Capon
When roasting a capon for your holiday meal, truss it much the same as you would a turkey or a chicken. Remove the wishbone, and bind the bird so that its drumsticks rest nicely in place against the tip of the breastbone, with the wing tips folded back neatly beneath the shoulders. It will make for a beautiful shape, cook more evenly and be easier to carve. This is especially brilliant because capons are the perfect bird to carve at the table. Large enough to be grand, they make for an impressive entrance, yet they are small enough to manage easily. Use the links below to learn how to quick roast the perfect capon, and remove the wishbone before trussing.
In our third installment of Talking Turkey with Ariane, she’s sharing her favorite recipes for impressive yet easy Thanksgiving side dishes, like creamy and rich truffle mashed potatoes, Wild Boar and Apple Stuffing and Harvest Bisque Soup with Smoked Duck Breast.
If have the good fortune of a temperate climate, or are intrepid and adventurous enough to brave the elements, grilling can be a much more than just a novel way to prepare your holiday bird. Grilling aficionados will tell you “Where there’s smoke, there’s flavor!” and grilling one of our organic free-range turkeys or all natural turkey breasts is no exception.
Grilling Your Holiday Turkey
You can use the rack to roast a butterflied turkey, flattened halves or a breast; and a kettle barbeque will allow you to use a roasting pan to cook a traditionally intact bird. Add the science of seasoned brines, and a myriad of marinades, spice rubs, and BBQ sauces to the mix, and you may never throw a bird in the oven again. These wonderful preparatory techniques enhance the succulence of your bird, with a spectrum of flavor bases that run from the sublime to the wow. Remember too, one huge bonus is that grilling will also free up precious oven space.
Get to Play with Fire
There are a few considerations before grilling a big bird. For instance, it will take more than a humble pair of tongs to flip a butterflied turkey, and comparatively speaking summer steaks, plump chicken, and sausages all grill relatively quickly. Even a small turkey calls for a substantially longer Read more
If a grand entrance with a bird straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting is not part of your Thanksgiving ritual, you can cut cooking time substantially by butterflying the bird, and giving the roasting a juicy jump-start under the broiler. This is an especially good method if you prefer to bring platters of carved meat to the table, or are setting a buffet.
How to Roast a Butterflied Turkey
Searing for Juicy Goodness
This method of roasting uses the high broiler heat to sear and brown the skin, sealing in the meat’s juices. You start by laying out the butterflied bird, skin side down in a shallow roasting pan, basting it generously with melted, rendered duck fat, and then position the bird so the meat is 7 or 8 inches from the preheated element.
Broiling uses intense heat, so if your oven has only one broiler setting that temperature is likely a whopping 550°F. If you can thermostatically control your broiler, set the temperature between 350°F and 400°F. You want a slower searing than is usually gotten by broiling, say about 16 to 18 minutes or so on the first side, so adjust the broiler heat accordingly. In either case, watch the bird carefully, and baste frequently during this process.
Once the meat has browned nicely, take it out of the oven to season with a good salt, and turn the Read more
Black… truffle… butter. The words alone have the power to induce salivation. And while black truffle butter is a year-round kitchen staple, it’s versatility is especially appreciated during the holidays. From passed hors d’oeuvres to plated appetizers and all the way through the main event – truffle butter plays an essential role in our Thanksgiving feast. In this holiday video, Ariane demonstrates how to slide disks of the earthy, creamy concoction under the skin of a turkey before roasting for an out-of-this-world delicious bird.
Pan Gravy Basics
The real gravy of a roasting a holiday bird is, well just that… the gravy, and nothing says turkey gravy like delicious, old-fashioned pan gravy. Pan gravy derives its flavor and telling character from both a rich stock, and the wonderful juices and dripping fats created by the cooking bird, and collected in the roasting pan, aka the pan drippings.
The Mother Sauce
Although deceivingly simple, pan gravies or sauces are rather sophisticated cuisine. In fact, in French cooking they are highly regarded as a mother sauce. You will know a good one when you taste it because it is pure ambrosia, smooth and delicious enough to eat all by itself. So much so, that it may actually surprise you to find how easy they are to make.
You start by making two different types of fonds – or bases. The first fond is your stock, which will be the hearty liquid foundation for your gravy. The second is a deglazing sauce made of the pan drippings, used to enrich the flavor of the Read more
Bread Stuffing Basics
Bread stuffing aka dressing, cooked inside the bird can delicately impart flavor and moisture to the meat, while in turn the delicious natural juices from the meat enrich the flavor and moisture of the stuffing. When cooked outside the bird, it can be equally moist and delicious, safely cooked ahead of time, and overall, much easier to control with regard to final moisture and texture. When cooked sans stuffing, the bird will cook faster too. Bottom line, no matter what you call it or where you cook it, stuffing is a signature holiday dish.
The nature and quality of the bread, as well as how it is prepared, will account for a dressings primary texture. A ‘dry’ dressing will retain a pleasant coarse or even crisp texture. Dressings that call for fresh bread or breadcrumbs, especially when moistened with stock, are softer and more even-textured. What’s nice is there isn’t a hard and fast rule as to what should go into Read more