Roast capon with hay, chestnut pulp, Guinness and oyster sauce

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A capon is a castrated rooster which is prized for its moist, tender, flavourful meat, making it an interesting alternative to chicken. In this capon recipe from Pascal Aussignac, the addition of smoky hay and a rich Guinness and oyster sauce gives this roast an exciting dimension.

First published in 2015





Chestnut pulp

Guinness and oyster sauce


  • Hand blender
  • Fine sieve
  • Blow torch
  • Blender


For the capon, place 100g of hay in a large saucepan. Flame the hay with a blow torch; make sure you do this in a well-ventilated room and have a lid to hand in case something goes wrong
  • 100g of hay
Leave to burn for 10 seconds then add 2 litres of water to bring out the hay flavour
  • 2l water
Bring to the boil, take off the heat and leave to infuse and cool. Strain and split into 2
Keep 1 litre aside for the purée and sauce. Place 1 litre of hay stock in a large container, then add 10g of salt and the capon
Leave for at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours. This will season the capon, help to tenderise it and add a subtle hay flavour throughout the flesh
Remove from the stock and place in the fridge uncovered for an hour or overnight. This will dry and tighten the skin giving you a super crisp skin
Take the capon out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking so the meat is at room temperature. This will help to cook the capon equally, giving a moist and juicy bird
Heat the oven to 240°C/Gas mark 8
Rub with olive oil and season well. Place the capon on a tray and roast for 1 hour 20 minutes, basting every 25 minutes
Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 20 minutes before carving. Drain the juices from the roasting tray into a jug
For the chestnut pulp, bring the chestnuts, 100ml of the hay stock and the thyme to the boil. Season
Whiz in a blender, adding the butter and more hay stock to make a pulp. Pass the pulp through a sieve, then season
For the Guinness and oyster sauce, place the Guinness and hay stock into a pan. Boil and reduce by 2/3
  • 1 can of Guinness
Steam the oysters for 1 minute, remove from the shells and blend the flesh with all the juice in a blender
Pass the oyster purée through a sieve and add to the reduced Guinness sauce with the sieved cooking juices from the capon. Whisk in the butter, then season
To serve, remove the legs and breasts from the capon, and cut each into 2. Serve half a breast and half a leg for each person
Place a spoon of the chestnut purée onto the plate, then the capon and spoon the sauce around. If you have a hand blender, blend your sauce to give a lighter frothy sauce. Serve with 1 fresh oyster each
First published in 2015

Pascal Aussignac left France with business partner Vincent Labeyrie to champion 'la cuisine de Gascogne' at his restaurant, Club Gascon, in 1998.

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