Capon for a traditional French style Christmas May it be for X’mas or Thanksgiving
French traditional Christmas dinner may vary from one family or one region to the other but there are some very classic dishes that you will often find on Christmas table in France. I wrote a full article on this that you might want to discover here.
Anyway capon and turkey are the two main poultry the French love to serve on this occasion.
Capon is generally not as big as turkey, for 6 to 10 people, thus perfect for a family with a few relatives. I often have a 3 kilos capon when I just have my parents + the 5 of us, or two capons that fit well in one larger dish in the oven when we have a larger gathering. These photos were taken at the family Christmas dinner last year, thus no food styling, pictures quickly. They all loved it.
Which vegetables to serve as a side with capon for Christmas
The most classic capon recipe might be with chestnuts and stuffing. I wanted a lighter version thus with no stuffing and with seasonal winter vegetables along with chestnuts. In France chestnuts can be found in jars, peeled and steamed, thus Ready-to-eat which is very convenient and what most people use.
I choose onions, carrots, turnips, onion squash. Feel free to adapt according to the vegetables you like or are in season in your country.
How to perfectly cook capon with tender meat
Average capons in France are of 2.5 to 3.5 kilos, you should count 400 gr per person. A capon is therefore ideal for 6 to 10 people.
You must remove the capon from the refrigerator 1 hour in advance.
The cooking time is 1 hour per kilo of poultry, 1h10 when the capon is stuffed. Start cooking in a warm oven, but not too hot: 160°C / 320°F, and cover the poultry with aluminum foil to avoid thermal shock. This way meat will not dry and you won’t have to baste regularly capon. 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, remove the aluminum foil, baste capon with the cooking juices, the skin will brown well and become crispy. This gentle cooking method in a not too hot oven makes the flesh very tender.
When the meat is cooked, it is important to allow the meat to rest for about 30 minutes, either covered with aluminium foil, either covered with 2 tea towels or in the oven with heat reduced to 50°C/120°F to 60°C/140°F in order to keep warm. This will allow the juices in the meat to spread evenly throughout the flesh and prevent this juice from flowing out when you cut capon.