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Thanksgiving dinner plate by Lucy Waverman photographed in Toronto, September 13 2016Danielle Matar/The Globe and Mail

I'm choosing a capon over a turkey as they are juicier and forgiving when left unattended or even overcooked. It takes the pressure off. Capons are always available at butchers over Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Servings: 6 to 8

Ready Time: 2 1/2 hours


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 6- to 8-pound (3.5- to 4.5-kilogram) capon

Salt and freshly ground pepper


2 tablespoons chicken fat

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon red currant jelly

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Combine butter, thyme, lemon rind and garlic, mashing with a fork. Use fingers to spread half of the butter mixture under the skin of the capon breast and down into the legs if possible. Spread the remaining butter mixture on top of the capon and season with salt and pepper.

Stuff capon if you wish; otherwise, bake stuffing separately. Place capon on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes per pound or until juices are clear. Add 15 minutes extra if you stuff the bird.

Remove to carving board. Let rest 10 minutes while making the sauce.

Drain out all but 2 tablespoons fat from roasting pan. Place pan over heat and stir in flour. Cook flour for about 2 minutes or until it turns a golden colour. Add stock, red currant jelly and balsamic. Bring to boil, stirring and simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve sauce with capon.