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The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana is one of my absolute favorite foodie magazines. This recipe comes from the December 2002 Holiday Issue. This requires a bit of prep work. I'm assigning prep time according to my slow first time preparing this recipe (not including brining time). I'm sure I'll pick up speed and you more experienced chef's will probably whip this out. Also, maybe already peeled pearl onions and jarred chestnuts can be used to save time.
- 2 gallons cold water
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 3⁄4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon peppercorn
- 1 capon, about 6 to 8 pounds (mine was 4 1/2 lbs)
- 3⁄4 lb potato, peeled and diced
- white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 bay leaf
- juniper berries (I omitted)
- paprika (I used about 2 1/2 T)
- cinnamon (I used 1/2 tsp & will a little less next time)
- 1⁄2 lb chestnuts, boiled and peeled (I also broke mine apart coarsely)
- 1 golden delicious apple, chopped
- 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs (I used gluten-free bread)
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- 2 lbs white pearl onions, peeled
- 1 cup dry red wine
- Brine bird: Pour the cold water into a 5-gallon stock pot.
- Dissolve the salt and sugar in a little bit of warm water, and add it to the cold water.
- Add the peppercorns.
- Place the bird breast-side down in the stock pot and cover.
- Store in the refrigerator and turn the bird once during brining.
- (I didn't turn it, but I did put a plate on top of the bird to completely submerge it in the brine.) Brine for 6 to 10 hours (I brined 22 hours, which was fine because this brine has less salt than some others).
- Take it out of the brine, rinse and pat dry, then put it back in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 6 hours.
- (From what I've read, this step will cause the water to move away from the skin, resulting in crisper skin.) Boil potatoes in a pot of salted water flavored with a splash of vinegar until al dente.
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter, and add bay leaf, juniper berries, paprika, cinnamon, chestnuts and apple.
- Add potatoes; fry until golden.
- Sprinkle with bread crumbs, season with salt and pepper, and let cool.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Fill capon with the potato stuffing.
- Truss the legs, and tuck the wing tips under the body so that they don't burn during cooking.
- Rub the capon with the oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast until skin begins to brown (about 30 minutes).
- Add onions and the wine, and cook for about 3 hours, or until a meat thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the inner thigh registers 175°F to 180°F.
- (My 4 1/2 lb bird cooked in 2 hours total cook time.) Let the bird rest for 30 minutes before carving.