This ingenious method of cooking capon (an extremely large male chicken) involves poaching the bird in chicken stock to make it succulent, then finishing the cooking on the grill to add smoky flavor (Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson calls this "seasoning on the grill"). Cutting the capon into pieces before poaching helps ensure that the breast and legs all cook evenly.
More Healthy Poultry Recipes
One 8-pound capon, cut into 4 pieces (see Note), wings, neck and carcass
1 leek, white and tender green parts only, thickly sliced
1 medium onion, quartered
1 carrot, thickly sliced
1 celery rib, thickly sliced
4 large parsley sprigs
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 gallon water
Vegetable oil, for coating
Freshly ground pepper
How to Make It
Put the capon wings, neck and carcass bones in a large pot. Add the leek, onion, carrot, celery, parsley, thyme, bay leaf and 1 tablespoon of salt. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
Carefully add the capon legs followed by the breast pieces to the hot liquid in the pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the capon breast pieces are just cooked through, about 20 minutes; transfer the breast pieces to a large rimmed baking sheet with tongs, being careful not to break the skin. Continue poaching the capon legs until cooked through, about 35 minutes longer; transfer to the baking sheet. Let the capon pieces cool to room temperature, then rub them all over with vegetable oil. Strain and reserve the poaching broth for the Grilled Cauliflower Salad with Raisin-Almond Dressing.
Light a grill. Season the capon pieces with salt and pepper and grill, skin side down, over moderately high heat for about 5 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and lightly charred. Turn the capon pieces and grill for 5 minutes longer, or until they're browned and heated through; let cool slightly. Thickly slice the breast and thigh meat. Arrange the capon on a platter and serve with the Salsa Verde.
The poached capon can be refrigerated in the broth overnight. Bring to room temperature before grilling.
Have your butcher cut up the capon for you: You should have 2 whole legs and 2 boneless breast halves (with skin) with the first joint of the wing attached. Keep the bones for the poaching liquid.
"This capon isn't very heavy, but it has a smoky note to it," Bobby Stuckey says. A blend of local Friulian grape varieties Refosco and Pignolo (with a touch of Merlot), "has low tannins and firm acidity, and will balance perfectly with it," he says. An easier-to-find choice would be a Barbera d'Asti from Piedmont.
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