Herb Roasted Capon

Yield serves 8
RECIPE Ingredients
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 whole lemon, zested then cut into quarters, divided use
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs, we used tarragon, thyme, chervil, and parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced + 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed, divided use
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 small shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 Capon, Whole (about 8 lbs), thawed in the refrigerator, giblets removed
Recipe notes
In this simple roast capon recipe, a compound butter packed with fresh herbs, garlic, and lemon zest is rubbed under the skin for juicy and flavorful results.
RECIPE Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together butter, lemon zest, chopped herbs, and minced garlic. Season butter to taste with salt and pepper, set aside.
  3. Pat the capon dry inside and out with paper towels. Using your fingers, carefully pull skin away from breast and leg meat, being careful not to puncture the skin. Push 1 tablespoon of the butter mixture under the skin over each breast and smooth into an even layer. Repeat with ½ tablespoon of butter over each leg. Season the cavity with salt and pepper, then add lemon wedges, smashed garlic cloves, shallots, and thyme sprigs to the cavity. Truss the legs with butcher’s string and tuck the wings under.
  4. Place the capon breast-side-down on a rack set over a shallow roasting pan. Rub the remaining butter mixture all over the bird and season with salt and pepper. Pour about ½ of water into the bottom of the pan.
  5. Roast the capon for about 30 minutes, then remove from oven and carefully turn the bird over breast side up. Baste the chicken all over with the pan drippings. Turn the heat down to 375 degrees F and return the pan to the oven. Roast until capon is golden brown and thigh juices run clear, about 1½ hours more. Finished temp: an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast and thigh should register 165 degrees F. (Account for about 10 degrees of carry-over cooking after you remove the bird from the oven.)
  6. Rest the capon, tented with foil, for 20 minutes before removing the string and aromatics, and carving.

Recipe tips: While your bird is resting, make a simple jus or gravy using the flavorful pan-drippings.