Concluding this week’s holiday recipe marathon, after some holiday hors d’œuvres, a sunchoke chestnut vanilla soup, a first course of scallops and avocado chaudfroid, sharing here the recipe I’ll be using on Monday for a roasted capon with chestnut apple sage stuffing, and a celeriac mash with goat cheese to go with it. I know it is late in the game and everyone probably has their menu planned out, but who knows, maybe it can inspire someone out there still looking for ideas.
I had been planning to post this earlier, and have been working on a post about the roles we play in life, and what they mean. But it looks like I will be sharing those thoughts after Christmas.
Why, you ask?
Because of caramel.
Yes, tonight, instead of philosophizing, analyzing and writing, instead of being cerebral, I made caramel. And let me tell you, boy was it therapeutic.
Life hasn’t been particularly easy on me these past few days and weeks. This has meant a good deal of time spent in my head. So tonight, when for a few minutes, I found myself fully in the moment, in the glorious butter-bubbling-in-melted-sugar moment, I forgot all the rest. I can’t remember if I’ve ever made caramel. I didn’t really know what to expect. I was following a very trustworthy recipe by Beth from Local Milk, and I let myself be guided, without trying to predict how it would turn out. And that, I suppose, is the reason why it turned out great.
In stressful moments, I will have to plunge myself back into that moment in time, vigorously stirring the bubbling butter and cream into the caramel, watching it take shape under my hand. I am thankful for these moments where the world and my life make sense. Tonight, it gave me some much needed inner calm.
I shall have to remember that also on Monday. Preparing a big 6-course dinner for 12 people has made me stress out in the past. It has made me lose sight of what matters: togetherness and connection with friends and family, thankfulness for all we have, warmth and hope for the year to come, and of course, that Christmas magic in the eyes of Pablo when he looks at the tree, or listens to Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer, or tries to picture Santa coming down the chimney. I will have to swirl all that into my caramel experience to keep it close in my head on Monday, so I may enjoy not only the dinner, but all the preparations leading up to it. Times ahead may be tough, but that night will be good, even if I were to burn the capon I’m going to tell you about…
So. Capon. What is it exactly? To put it bluntly, it is a castrated rooster that has been fed a diet of milk and porridge (more info here). It is considered a luxury meat in France, and definitely a holiday favorite. Its meat is gamier, juicier, more flavorful than chicken, and can be very tender if roasted correctly, because of the high fat content.
This is a fairly easy recipe with the stuffing, and the potato celeriac mash complements it nicely. Hope you get to try it and tell me what you think!
Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas, with all the warmth and love and magic of the season. I am always immensely thankful for everyone of you reading these words.