Preparation time : 1 hour
Cooking time 2-3 hours

Ingredients (serves 4-8)

  • 1 capon (3-5 kg)
  • 1 jar of chestnuts, fresh or preserved
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • Fond de veau (concentrated veal stock) either liquid or powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Chopped thyme
  • Red vermouth


Wash and truss the capon (your butcher can do this).

Place the bird in a roasting dish, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and sprinkle with the chopped thyme. Place in a pre-heated oven at 180° for a good 2 hours for a 3kg bird and 3 hours for a 5kg bird.

Baste regularly with water during cooking, and if necessary add a little water to prevent the sauce caramelising in the dish.

To make the sauce

Chop the fennel finely and gently brown in a dash of olive oil in a pan.

Dissolve the veal stock in hot water.

Add the chestnuts and cover with veal stock and cook or heat depending on whether the chestnuts are fresh or preserved. Make sure the chestnuts do not cook in too much liquid.

Meanwhile, carve the capon.

Once carved, put to one side then deglaze the roasting tray with a splash of vermouth, and cover with veal stock. Bring to the boil and reduce slightly.

To serve

Place the chestnuts and a piece of capon on a plate, pour on the sauce and serve.

Food and wine pairing

Choose Chateau Le Boscq Cru Bourgeois, Saint Estephe. This is an elegant wine offering aromas of ripe fruits and precious woods, where the elegant, silky tannins will make a superb match with the capon’s refined and tender flesh.

Top Tips from the Chef

  1.  Cook the bird in two stages starting the day before. The meat will stay moist, particularly if using a larger bird.
  2.  Top tip to stop the capon caramelising during cooking: add cold water at regular intervals to stop the meat juices sticking.
  3. The juice is a key component to this recipe, so it’s worth spending a bit of time and energy getting it right
  4. You can make this recipe using a pre-cut capon.