I'm referring to a website, please let me know if there is a better way. http://www.medievalcookery.com/notes/napier.txt Capon or goos roste A Noble Boke off Cookry Title Statement: A Noble boke off cookry ffor a prynce houssolde or eny other estately houssolde : reprinted verbatim from a rare ms. in the Holkham collection / edited by Mrs. Alexander Napier. London: Elliot Stock, 1882. Description: xiii, 136 p. ; 23 cm. LCCN: 88195361 Transcription by Daniel Myers - September 12, 2007 Completed and corrected on August 18, 2008 (c) 2008 MedievalCookery.com To rost capon or gose tak and drawe his leuer and his guttes at the vent and his grece at the gorge and tak the leef of grece parsly ysope rosmarye and ij lengs of saige and put to the grece and hew it smale and hew yolks of eggs cromed raissins of corans good poudurs saffron and salt melled to gedure and fers the capon there withe and broche hym and let hym be stanche at the vent and at the gorge that the stuffur go not out and rost hym long with a soking fyere and kep the grece that fallithe to baist hym and kepe hym moist till ye serue hym and sauce hym with wyne and guingere as capons be.
This recipe was chosen based on a convergence of a really lovely chicken entering the house just as I got some hyssop to familiarise myself with.
The site I found it on, http://www.medievalcookery.com/ , is excellent. I have not worked with this manuscript before, and look forward to spending more time with it.
Capons are the castrati of poultry. They are fat and tender, with lush meat. I have a pasture chicken, which is far less fat than a capon would be and certainly not lush, it’s been running around and trying to fly.
This limits the amount of fat available for the recipe as well as the quantity of basting grease. Because of this, I basted with olive oil.
I do not cook with rosemary, so eliminated that herb, and was out of currants so used raisins, which we did have in the house.
After hard boiling and cooling my eggs, I separated out the yolks. I should have used more, as seven were not enough to completely fill the cavity. This was also impacted by the relative leanness of the bird I had, the fat from a capon would have given far more bulk to the stuffing.
The instructions call for mincing the capon’s fat with the herbs and yolks, then stuffing the bird and sewing it shut to prevent the stuffing from falling out. As there is not enough stuffing to leak, and I am not roasting on a spit, I opted not to truss the bird.
A food processor made short work of the stuffing mixture, though it later turned out to have left the herbs somewhat twig-like. Next time, I will use a knife and mortar rather than the machine.
The chicken was cooked at 400* for a bit over an hour, then at 300 for another half hour, then allowed to rest for 15 minutes. I did this as a general emulation of spit-roasting and moving the meat from the fire.
It was served off the bone with cameline sauce and the stuffing.
The instructions call for service to be sauced with wine and ginger. I made a cameline sauce using the guidelines from the same website, more on that another time.
While I found the flavor of the stuffing pleasant enough, the texture was displeasing between the mealiness of the egg yolks and the twigginess of the herbs. Again, the lack of chicken fat showed. W was not a fan of the stuffing at all, as he is not fond of herbal notes and this is quite herbal. He loved the poultry itself though.
took a good long time to cook, so an oven killer.
stuffing is wasteful of egg whites; perfect for serving when you are also doing a filled egg.
Capons cost more than a car, it seems.
Can’t taste or smell the saffron.
Needs more than a little fat in the stuffing, so save some from one bird to bolster the next
Tasty and attractive
Stuffing is flavorful and very evocative of 14th Century English food.
I would make this again if I needed to find a use for boiled egg yolks, and would go out of my way for a capon to serve this to honored guests, along with a variety of sauces, a salad with similar herbs, and a loaf of bread. It’s got a festive note with the attractively colored, rich stuffing.