Capon or goos roste

I'm referring to a website, please let me know if there is a better way.

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

 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.


a slice of chicken breast, a small metal bowl half full of red-wine based cameline sauce, and a quarter cup of minced herb-based stuffing on a light green plate
just needs a salad.

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, , 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.

a raw chicken in a plastic container in the background, in the foreground a pottery plate with fresh parsley and sage, a small pile of saffron, dried hyssop, a number of hard-boiled egg yolks and the fat pulled from inside the chicken.
mise en place

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.


a close-up shot of the whole, cooked chicken with a view of the stuffing inside
cooked to a turn, figuratively typing.

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.


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