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Terra Cotta Capon Provencal

  • Category: Main Dish, Poultry
  • Submitted By: Isaac Owsley
  • Town/State: Sonora, CA
  • Serves: 6 – 8
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour
  • Total Cooking time: 2 – 2 1/2 hours

This is the penultimate Sunday roast chicken recipe, a dish that is worth every single minute of the extra effort involved in preparation with each ingredient used to enhance the others. For those of you wondering what a capon is, quite simply put it is the poultry version of a steer, which produces a deliciously plump and tender chicken. If you do not have a Terra Cotta baking dish I strongly recommend obtaining one to do dishes such as this one because while you can use a heavy roasting pan, nothing matches the delicate flavors and subtle nuances of baking in a traditional red clay pot. In this day and age of everything high speed and instant, this recipe is the best way to stop, take a deep breath, and remember what life is all about-a well prepared meal on a generously spread table, perhaps a few loaves of bread, and a huge group of friends and family to enjoy it with.

Amount Measure Ingredients
6-10 lb Capon (may substitute a large fryer or roasting hen)
8 ozs butter, softened (I don’t suggest using margarine for this)
1 bunch Parsley stems removed & chopped fine (suggest flat leafed)
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp lavender
1 clove garlic, minced finely
1 1/2 lbs fingerling potatoes, washed
1 lb baby carrots
1 1/2 lbs celery root (celeriac) peeled and cut into 2″ cubes
1 large red onion cut into 2″ chunks
1 bulb elephant garlic, peeled

To prepare:

Soak a large Terra Cotta baking dish in a water bath for at least 1-2 hours. While that is soaking blend the parsley, lemon zest, pepper, salt, lavender and garlic into the softened butter and set aside at least 20 minutes. Place the capon or chicken breast up on a cutting board and gently lift the skin away from the meat by sliding your hand between the layer of skin, do this to as much of the skin as you can. Next spread the herbed butter evenly under the skin on top of the meat. Pat the skin down onto the meat to seal down and let rest a few minutes. Next remove the terra cotta from the water and let drain. Place the capon or chicken in the center of the dish and surround with the potatoes, carrots, and celery root, onion and elephant garlic. Season the vegetables and chicken with salt and pepper and a light drizzling of olive oil if you like then cover and place in a 375 degree oven for 20minutes to the lb (about 2 hours for a 6 lb capon) or until the juices run clear when the meat is pierced or the thigh separates easily from the joint. Remove the cover for the last 20 minutes of cooking to ensure a golden brown color on the chicken and vegetables. To serve, remove the capon or chicken from the dish and drain the juices into a sauce pan, thicken reserved cooking liquid and serve drizzled over the roasted vegetables and carved capon meat.