“So Locke scuttled about, embarrassment and relief mingled on his face. The meal was roasted capon stuffed with garlic and onions, with grapes and figs scalded in a hot wine sauce on the side. Father Chains poured all of his usual toasts, dedicating the last to ‘Jean Tannen, who lost one family but came to another soon enough.'”
–The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch
Delicious. It’s a dish that would be warm and comforting to a newly orphaned boy, yet different enough to showcase the culinary skills of the Sanza brothers and to take a reader into the world of Camorr.
The sauce, for me, was part of what made this dish sound so appealing. I’d been keeping an eye out for fresh figs, and when I finally found some, I knew I had to make this recipe asap. The final dish is a fascinating combination of sweets and savories. The onions and garlic infuse the chicken from the inside out, leaving the tender meat savory with flavor.
I wasn’t sure that the flavors of the stuffing would pair well with the sauce, but it actually works quite well. On its own, the chicken tastes of the stuffing, but with the sauce, and a bit of fruit, it becomes a sweet bite, all but overpowering the more savory elements.
Now I just need to sort out the Rock Eel smothered in a Caramel-Brandy Sauce… 🙂
Recipe for Capon
Cook’s Notes: Capon, while different from chicken in flavor and texture, is not essential to the enjoyment of this recipe. Feel free to substitute a chicken!
- 1 capon, or chicken
- small onions, such as cippolini, pearl, or boiler, peeled
- 1 head of garlic, separated and peeled
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup seedless grapes
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 6 fresh figs, sliced in quarters
- 1 cup red wine
- pinch of grains of paradise, or black pepper
- pinch of ground cloves
- pinch of mahlep (optional, but tasty)
- 1 Tbs. honey
- 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400F. Stuff the bird with the small onions and the garlic, then rub down the outside of the bird with olive oil, followed by a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper, which crisps up the skin. Roast in the oven for around an hour, or until the juice runs clear.
For the sauce, drizzle your olive oil in a medium sized frying pan, over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the grapes. Cook, stirring for several minutes, until the grapes appear slightly wrinkled and cooked. Add the figs, and continue to stir for another minute more, but stopping before the figs start to fall apart.
To the roasted fruits, add the wine, spices, honey, and vinegar. Simmer this mixture until the sauce begins to thicken a bit, about 30 minutes or more. Serve as an accompaniment to the roast chicken/capon.