Tuesday, December 23, 2008


We had the idea to cook a goose for Christmas. We're not huge turkey fans (it's best fried, and we don't have the equipment for that), and we're burned out on ham. Besides, what's more Christmasy than a Christmas goose? Straight up Bob Cratchet in the hizzouse. And you thought we were grinches.

Anyway, apparently geese are very expensive. At least they are at Central Market, and I wouldn't have any idea where else to find one. 14 lbs at $7.99 per... not gonna happen. So we decided to try another type of bird. The ducklings were just $3.99 per pound. Smaller, so we got two. We shall see how that turns out.

We saw another bird in the store that we had never heard of: "capon". Is that something that everyone else knows? They were fairly large, and a good price, but we weren't feeling that adventurous to buy something we'd never even heard of. Turns out it's just a castrated rooster. Google reveals the following fascinating info:

The bird is fastened on a surface on its left side with the wings held together above the body. The legs are also fastened together and the bird stretched out to its full length in order to expose the rib cage area. Feathers in this rib area must be removed and the skin disinfected with 70% ethanol or another skin disinfectant.
Using a sharp scalpel or knife, a one-inch incision is made through the skin and other tissues between the two posterior ribs. The skin should be moved to one side before making the incision so that skin cut and muscle cut are not aligned afterwards. The incision should be deep enough to expose the abdominal air sac covering the intestines and other abdominal organs. Care must be used to avoid cutting a large vein in the skin that runs diagonally toward the back of the bird. The abdominal air sac is punctured with a sharp hook or probe to expose the internal organs. The testes are located on the dorsal wall at the anterior end of the kidneys, posterior to the lungs. The testes of a three-week-old cockerel are about the size of a large wheat kernel and may be yellowish, white, gray or black in color.
Both testes should be removed from the single incision, the lower or left testes removed first. The testis is grasped with special forceps and then twisted free from its connective tissue while slowly pulled from its attachments. Care must be taken not to rupture large blood vessels located between the two testes. The upper, right testis is then similarly removed. Electrically heated cautery equipment is available for incising the skin and removing the testes. It prevents excessive bleeding and may reduce the incidence of "slips". The rib spreader may now be removed and tension on the bird released, allowing the skin and thigh muscle to slip back into place. Once the bird is released, the incision should close without need for sutures or bandage.

Now, I'm no PETA wacko, but this sounds pretty bizarre to a city boy. I don't think we'll be partaking of capon any time soon.


Steph B said...

Mary Wiersch and I cooked some ducks for a WOWO gathering last year. They tasted like the dark meat if chicken. I really liked them. We just roasted them in an aluminum foil tent (to stay moist) and it worked great. Let us know how your birds come out. =)

Charlotte (Matilda) said...

Darn. I was hoping to get the opportunity to ask your wife if she really cooked your goose! Merry Christmas!!!