Christmas Dinner 2007 - Roast Capon with Saffron and Lemon
And as luck would have it, our local Safeway had frozen capons! I thought I'd have to check out one of the high end places like Whole Foods (a.k.a. whole paycheck) so I was quite pleased when we found our bird.
Jim lent a hand fixing dinner since I'm still under doctor's orders and am restricted from lifting much. Actually....Jim did just about everything, and I didn't complain a bit. Once the bird was roasting, he put together some saffron rice and cooked up a few Brussels Sprouts. I set the table and impatiently waited for dinner.The skin got a little more done than we expected (because I didn't think to tent it halfway through the cooking. Nonetheless, it was good and crispy. I'm not one that usually will go after the skin but this one was an exception. The flavor was unbelievable. Lemony, tangy and crunchy. Even Sophie enjoyed a few nibbles from the table. The meat itself was very tasty, especially the legs and wings and some of the breast meat that was just under the skin. We probably could have cooked it a little less as some of the breast meat was a tad on the dry side, but it didn't stop us from cleaning our plates. And tonight we get to have the leftovers. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.
The recipe couldn't have been any easier and I'd make it again with a regular roasting chicken or Cornish game hens if I don't want to schlep all over town for a capon.
Roast Chicken with Saffron and Lemons - adapted from Saveur Magazine
1 7-8-lb. capon
2 large pinches saffron threads, toasted
4 tsp. salt
1⁄2 tsp. black peppercorns
2 lemons, thinly sliced
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Wash and gently pat dry the capon.
2. Grind toasted saffron threads, salt, and peppercorns in a grinder (we use a coffee grinder). Gently separate the skin from the flesh of the capon with your fingers. Rub spices over and under the skin, and inside the cavity. Place lemon slices and rosemary under the skin and inside the cavity.
3. Tuck the wings under the back and tie the bird with a kitchen string to hold the legs together for even cooking. Place in a baking pan and roast for 2 hours. You may want to tent the capon after the first hour to keep the skin from getting too dark.