Capon with a chestnut, herb and pancetta stuffing

This full-flavoured bird is pot-roasted with wine and vegetables to make a lovely wintry dish
By Gennaro Contaldo
Capon with a chestnut, herb and pancetta stuffing
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 1 large boned plump capon, (about 1.4 kg)
  • salt and black pepper
  • 6 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp thyme, leaves only
  • 2 bay leaves, finely chopped
  • 7 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
  • 300 g cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
  • 150 g strips of pancetta
  • 180 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 8 parsnips, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 180 ml brandy
  • 2 glasses white wine


1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7.

2. Flatten the capon, skin side down. First season with a little salt and black pepper, rubbing them well into the flesh. Then sprinkle the chopped herbs evenly over the flesh, reserving half the rosemary, followed by the chestnuts and Parmesan cheese. Top with strips of pancetta, covering all the stuffing. Carefully roll the meat up and tie with butcher's string, trying to retain the original shape of the capon as much as you can. Rub the outside all over with salt and pepper, and set aside.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large pot-roasting pan, add the meat and seal well on all sides. Stir in the onions, parsnips and reserved rosemary, and sweat the vegetables for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the brandy and wine, and allow to bubble up. Cover with a lid and place in the preheated oven for about 2 hours. Check from time to time to ensure the liquid has not all evaporated; if necessary, add more liquid - some water will suffice.

4. Remove the meat from the pot and leave to stand for 5 minutes before carving. Place slices of the meat on a large serving dish, pour over the sauce and vegetables, and serve.

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