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Roast Capon


This elegantly simple recipe of roast capon may be one of the refined dishes Hortensie Laborie serves the president of the Republic of France at Elysée Palace in the film Haute Cuisine.


  • One 8- to 10-pound fresh capon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 12 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the capon, breast side up, in a large roasting pan and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the cavity generously with salt and pepper, to taste, and tie the legs together and wings to the body using kitchen twine. Brush the capon with melted butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Squeeze the lemon quarters all over the capon and place them and the rosemary sprigs around the base of the bird.

Place the capon in the oven legs first and roast for 1 ½ hours, or until the juices run clear when cut between the thigh and the leg. Remove the capon from the oven and cover with aluminum foil. Allow the capon to rest for 20 minutes before carving and serve with the pan juices that have been skimmed of fat.