Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Main Course - Orange Ginger Capon, Stuffing, Sweet Carrots & Kugel

The Appetizer Course was way to easy to write about in detail – purchased gefilte fish, chicken salad and “Israeli” salad - don’t ask me how it got the name over the years. It’s just vegetables like cucumbers, fennel root, red & yellow peppers, etc. cut in large chunks, quartered artichoke hearts, pitted Nicoise olives and grape tomatoes with a light vinaigrette.

So let’s just jump straight to the Main Course. The only photo I got was this blurry one (everyone wanted to get down to the real business at hand – Eating), so think of it as a game and you can all play the Rosh Hashana version of “Where’s Waldo” and find the dish that goes with the recipes below.

Orange Ginger Capon
From Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories

Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Total Roasting time: 2 ½ -3 hours
Resting time: 10-15 minutes
Serves 8-10

1 capon 6-8 lbs/12-18 kg
1 orange cut in half
1 onion cut in half
1” piece of fresh ginger
1 tbsp powdered mustard
1 tbsp powdered ginger
½ tbsp paprika
Bouquet garnie:
1 celery stalk chopped
1 small onion chopped
1 carrot grated
1” piece of fresh ginger cut in 4
Cooking liquid:
1 c water
1 c orange juice
1 tbsp Magi liquid or 1 tsp powdered chicken stock

1. Preheat oven to 325°F/170°C

2. Clean capon of excess fat. Pour boiling water over capon and inside cavity. Pat dry.

3. Season the capon - Rub inside and out with half of orange, onion and the piece of ginger.

4. To stuff the capon (see Holiday Stuffing recipe below), only fill the cavity and skin at neck ¾ full*.

5. Secure skin to back of neck with metal or bamboo skewer. Repeat process at main cavity, closing gap between legs.

6. If you are not stuffing the bird, place the unused half of the orange, onion and ginger inside the cavity.

7. Truss the capon. Tie legs together and secure wings close to body, using kitchen twine. ( The Cooking Primer section of the book actually has photos and very detailed directions)

8. Mix together mustard powder, paprika and powdered ginger and rub all over capon.

9. Place bouquet garnie in large roasting pan and spread vegetables around edge leaving center empty for capon.

10. Place capon, breast down, on small rack in well and pour ¾ cup of the cooking liquid over the capon. Roasting breast side down ensures that juices flow through the white meat keeping it moist. Bake 1½ -2 hours depending on how big the capon is, basting every 30 minutes. Add more cooking liquid as needed to the pan. This will become the gravy.

11. After 1½ -2 hours turn capon breast side up and bake at least 30 minutes more. This gives the capon golden crispy skin.

How to determine when the capon is ready:
Poke the breast with a fork. If the capon is ready, the juices will be clear.
Twist the leg and it will move
very easily.
(My favourite) Buy a meat thermometer and place the tip in the meatiest part of the breast. Make sure it does not touch the bone.

To make gravy
1. Remove capon from pan after cooking and place on serving platter, tented with aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes before carving.

2. Pour off as much fat as possible.

3. Discard ginger.

4. In a blender, put 1 cup of cooked vegetables from roasting pan and add some of the liquid. Puree until vegetables are mashed. Add more vegetables and liquid until all are done. The ratio of liquid to vegetables will determine how thick/thin the gravy gets. It’s a personal preference.

5. Pour into a gravy boat and serve with sliced capon.

Tips & Variations
To stuff or not to stuff:

If you are stuffing the capon, leave skin attached at the neck, otherwise remove it.

Stuffing will expand during cooking and if you completely fill the cavity it could explode.

Any extra stuffing can be baked in a glass dish for 30-40 minutes. Cook covered for the first 20 minutes and uncovered for the last 10 minutes or so to add a nice crisp crust.

Capons usually take 25-30 minutes per pound to cook. If stuffed, add at least 30 minutes.

Side Options
Especially if there is no stuffing, is roasted potatoes or roasted root vegetables or, of course mashed potatoes to soak up all that gravy.

My mother always served this Holiday Capon with broccoli topped with buttered breadcrumbs. (It was the only way she could get us to eat broccoli)

Because the capon is so rich, I usually serve it with lightly steamed green vegetables – broccoli, green beans, or spinach, splashed with some lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste.

Holiday Stuffing
There are very few recipes in my cookbook that start from a mix. This is one of them. Over the years I’ve tried many “from scratch” versions, but somehow, my family always preferred it when I just embellished on the box. So who am I to argue with tradition!

I personally love the addition of one chicken liver. It adds such flavor, but since not everyone likes it, I usually make half the recipe with the chicken liver and half without. I no longer stuff the bird, since many are concerned with either cholesterol or other issues. And I must admit, I miss the over-the-top richness of stuffing baked in a bird like my mother and grandmother used to make.

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Total Cooking time: 45 minutes when baked separately, otherwise add 30 minutes to roasting time for bird
Serves 8-10

2 Boxes Streit's Stuffing Mix (my personal favourite, but any stove top stuffing mix will do).
2 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 chicken liver (optional)

1. Fry onion, mushroom (and chicken liver) in olive oil until soft (liver, no longer pink)

2. If using chicken liver, chop into 1/4 inch pieces and set aside.

3. Prepare the mix as directed. Add onion, mushroom (liver) mixture.

4. Stuff cavity & neck of capon, turkey or large chicken only 3/4 full.

Bake covered in an ovenproof loaf pan or casserole dish. Follow the instructions on the box.

Best to uncover for the last 10 minutes to give the stuffing a crispy crust.

Sweet Carrots
From Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total Cooking time: 1½ hours
Serves 6-8

2 lb. carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2" coins
1 jar ginger marmalade
1 tbsp brown sugar
¼ cup orange juice
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
½ cup currants (or dried cherries or cranberries)

1. In a saucepan, cook sugar, juice, apricots, currants & marmalade until fruit is soft and liquid is thick (about 15 minutes or so on medium low heat).

2. In an ovenproof baking dish, pour mixture over sliced carrots and toss. Bake, covered for 1 hour or until soft at 375 -400°F/190-200°C.

Potato Kugel
From Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total Baking time: 1 hour
Serves 8-10

¼ cup vegetable oil
6 large potatoes, peeled and grated*
1 very small onion, finely chopped in the food processor
3 large eggs
salt & pepper to taste
¼ cup flour or potato starch for Passover
½ tsp sweet paprika

1. Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C

2. Place oil in an 8" square or 7"x11" oblong ovenproof casserole. And heat in the oven until the oil is piping hot, about 3-5 minutes. (The oil should sizzle when you add the potato mixture to the pan.)

3. Meanwhile, grate potatoes. As you process them, put the grated potatoes in cold water. Keep them in the water until the egg mixture is ready. Rinse off excess starch and drain well. Pat dry with paper towels. This keeps the potatoes from turning grey.

4. Finely chop or grate onion in food processor. Add beaten eggs and salt and pepper. Combine flour, mixing well. Add grated potatoes and toss well

Tips & Variations
If you have a food processor, just cut the potatoes in large chunks and process until coarsely grated (3-4 pulses). Rinse well and drain immediately.

If you're not using a food processor - use a hand grater over a bowl of cold water to keep the potatoes from turning grey. Then drain well (My mother and aunts always grated by hand. I, on the other hand, take the easier route when I can).

Do not freeze.
It becomes sponge-like.

North Shore Chicago Hadassah’s Lick-Your-Fingers Kugel
From Jewish Cooking In America

Hands on time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 1 hour
Rest time: 15-20 minutes

Serves 10-12

¾ cup salted butter, melted
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1 cup pecan halves
1 lb/ 450 g wide egg noodles
4 large eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup sugar
2 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C

2. Boil the noodles according to package directions and drain.

3. In the meantime, pour half the melted butter into a 12 cup mold or tube pan ( I use a spring form pan). Swirl it around the bottom and up the sides.

4. Press the brown sugar into the bottom and then press the pecans on top.

5. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, remaining melted butter, cinnamon, regular sugar and salt and add the noodles. Mix well and pour into the prepared pan.

6. Bake for 1 hour or so until the top is golden. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes before unmolding. Loosen the sides with a knife, place a large cake plate over the mold, carefully turn over.

The top will become slightly hardened like praline. I like to serve it at room temperature, but it can also be served cold.

Broccoli & Cauliflower with Buttery Breadcrumbs.

Hands on time: 10 minutes
Steam time: 5 minutes or until tender crisp
Broil time: 3 minutes or until the top turns golden

Serves 10-12

2 bunches of broccoli ( use the flowers only – save the stalks for something else)
1 head of cauliflower separated into flowerettes ( I found some that were a Saffron color and couldn’t resist. Everyone thought I had done a cheese sauce and were impressed that none got on the broccoli served in the same dish)
¾ cup seasoned bread crumbs
½ cup salted butter, melted

1. Steam the broccoli and cauliflower separately so they are each perfectly cooked.

2. In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the melted butter.

3. Drain and place them in an oven proof serving dish. Sharron said it looked like a Chilean flag with two stripes of green on either side of the yellow cauliflower. Spread the bread crumb mixture over the top.

4. Broil for a few minutes until the top is golden. Pay attention, though so it won’t burn. It doesn’t take very long.

That’s it for the main course. You’ll have to come back for dessert!!


Anonymous said...

I think that "blurry" pictures looks incredible! Maybe I'm relying on memory because I was there and know how unbelievable that meal was. Thanks again mum.

Anonymous said...

got linked to this because I was looking for info on capons. my husband is allergic to the "solution" added to grocery store poultry and bought a capon, not know what it was, as an alternative to "enhanced" grocery store turkey for thanksgiving. We do the lithuanian/chicago version of kugel. This looks FAB! Thanks

Anonymous said...

I hadn't a clue about how to cook and stuff a capon - this looks delicious and I'll be trying it this Christmas 2008 complete with some of the side dishes. Thanks very much!