Friday, February 18, 2011


four servings

1 young capon, about 2.8 kg/6 lb.
2 large pig's feet, pre-cooked and quartered
9 oz. smoked bacon, in 16 thin slices
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

14 oz. carrot
7 oz. onion
3 cups red Madiran wine
1 large bouquet garni
6 cloves of garlic
2 large pieces of orange zest

Sauce and garnish
1 1/4 cups Armagnac
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 oz. flour
salt and pepper
16 balls of pumpkin, cooked in salted water
32 pearl onions
32 small white mushrooms
1 bunch of parsley

Marinating the capon - the day before: Cut the capon up into 16 pieces. Lay them out on a work surface and season with a few grindings of pepper; the salt will be provided by the bacon. Wrap each piece of capon in a slice of bacon. Fasten each bacon slice with a toothpick to keep it in place. Place the bacon-wrapped capon pieces in a bowl; cover with the diced carrot and onion, bouquet garni, garlic cloves, orange peel and Madiran wine.

Cooking the capon: The next day, drain the capon pieces and pat dry with a cloth. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. When it begins to smoke, brown the capon pieces for 5 minutes on each side. Drain the capon pieces and transfer to a preheated Dutch oven containing 50 g (3 tbsp.) of heated butter. Add the drained diced carrot and onion from the marinade (4); continue sautéing, sprinkling the sugar over top, then the flour, and cook uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spatula. Place the quartered pig's feet on top of the mixture. Pour on the Armagnac, flambé, and add the wine from the marinade (4) with the bouquet garni, garlic and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, cover and cook in a low oven at a bare simmer for 1 3/4 hours. A half hour before the end of the cooking time, add the pearl onions and mushrooms, sautéed until golden brown, to the pot.

Finishing and serving: Once everything is cooked, remove the capon pieces, pig's feet, pearl onions, mushrooms and bouquet garni with a skimmer. Remove the toothpicks and keep everything hot. Pour the cooking liquid into a blender with half the diced carrot and onion and the orange peel. Purée to make a smooth sauce. Return the capon, pig's feet and remaining diced vegetables to the Dutch oven (or a more elegant serving dish, if you wish). Strain the sauce through a sieve and pour over the capon. Sprinkle the pearl onions, mushrooms and coarsely-chopped parsley over top. Garnish with 16 little pumpkin balls.

bacon recipe courtesy of: Michel Guérard, Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux, Les Prés d'Eugénie, 40320 Eugénie-Les-Bains, France

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