When I was a kid, Mom would splash out on a capon once or twice a year. They are almost impossible to get now, because modern farm practices are not lending to that kind of breeding, but I have had them, and can keep in mind the qualities I seek in a bird
This recipe is so simple and minimal, with so little else going on, that the quality of the meat almost entirely dictates the result of the dish. This being the beginning of farmers’ market season in my area, I have access to meat fine enough to stand up to this recipe.
Choose a bird that fits your soup pot. Always keep in mind the vessels you must use to prepare your food in. Get the nicest possible bird. Any will be good, but having had exceptional, I would like you to enjoy it as much as we did.
Blanching the chicken causes the skin to become terribly fragile. It rips at the merest glance.
I lifted my chicken out of the poach by inserting a long spatula in each end. It is very important to drain as you lift, it can be dangerous and messy if the water inside the bird spills.
Having used many types of fat for larding over the years, our best results were from thinly sliced unsalted leaf fat. Chicken fat has too low a melt point, salted fat alters the flavor and texture of the skin and meat.
To make a Fine Roast of capons, cockerels, goat kid, and any other meat. First, if it is a large joint of meat, put it to boil unless it is young veal; if it is capon or any other meat that is worth setting to roast, make it clean, then plunge it into boiling water and take it out immediately and put it into cold water -that is done to make it better; then lard it with good lardo and mount it on the spit, cooking it slowly; then, when it is almost done, get a grated piece of bread and mix it with salt and coat the meat. In this way you will have it cooked fine.
1 large roasting chicken, well cleaned.
1 pot of water, simmering (with head room for the mass of the chicken)
3-4 oz thinly sliced leaf fat or sliced chilled chicken fat
3 oz breadcrumbs (home made)
other seasonings you might like.
Blanch the chicken. It really does matter. If you have never done it before, please take the effort to try it once. It was done for humoural reasons (making a “hot dry” bird “cool moist” before roasting “hot dry”)
Place the chicken in the roasting vessel, reserve the poaching water.
Lay the fat overtop of the skin. Maybe tuck a couple of pieces under the skin. I did, and I am glad, but be careful.
Place the unsalted chicken in the oven and roast til it is very nearly done.
Season the breadcrumbs while the chicken roasts. Use at least salt,
When you can smell it, pull the chicken out and sprinkle it liberally with the breadcrumbs.
Pop it back into the oven for the last 10-15 minutes, then when you pull it for the last time, allow it to rest for 15 minutes.
Carve and serve, placing the carcass in the poaching pot to make a lovely broth for future use.
I hope your dinner is as lovely as mine.