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Dining Tip: Jacques Pépin's Roast Capon

A legendary chef's spectacular fall recipe to serve with a Rhône red

Posted: October 28, 2013

Recipe from Essential Pépin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food by Jacques Pépin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2011)

• 1 pound mushrooms (domestic, wild or a mixture), cleaned and thinly sliced (about 7 cups)
• 1 cup dry white vermouth
• 1 cup chicken stock
• 1 capon (about 8 pounds)
• 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
• 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons Armagnac
• 1 teaspoon potato starch (available in kosher section of supermarkets, or Asian specialty stores), dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.

2. Put the mushrooms in a saucepan with the vermouth and stock and bring to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low, and boil gently for 5 minutes. Set aside.

3. Season the capon inside and out with 1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper and the herbes de Provence. Place the bird breast-side up in a roasting pan and roast it for 30 minutes. Turn it over and roast for 1 hour. Finally, turn the capon onto its back again and roast it for 20 more minutes. (An instant-read thermometer inserted into the joint connecting a thigh and drumstick should register about 160° F.) Transfer the capon to an ovenproof platter and keep it warm in a 160° F oven. (If you only have one oven, turn off the oven and leave the door open for about 5 minutes to cool down, then return the capon to the oven to keep warm.)

4. Skim off as much fat as possible from the drippings in the roasting pan. Pour the juices from the mushrooms into the pan and heat over high heat for a few seconds, stirring to melt the solidified juices, then pour the resulting glaze through a strainer set over the mushrooms. Add the cream and Armagnac to the mushroom mixture, bring to a boil and stir in the dissolved potato starch. Mix in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and the tarragon.

5. Carve the capon and serve it with the sauce. Serves 8.

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