A capon is a castrated cockerel, specially reared for the table and killed at 6 to 10 months old. The idea of caponizing

cockerels originated in Ancient Rome, when a law was passed prohibiting the fattening and killing of hens for the table, lest they become extinct. The law did not mention cocks, and cooks took advantage of this loophole by castrating cocks and fattening these instead of hens.

There is more flesh on a capon than on any other type of bird. The fat is marbled and distributed throughout the flesh

rather than in pockets, as with other fowl. The bird can be cooked and served in any way suitable for chicken and turkey.

They generally weigh between 6 and 10 lb.

Hens are also caponized, and these are called poulardes, which is French for ‘fat hen’.

If a recipe requires a boned capon, most large butcher’s shops will do this, providing they are given plenty of notice.

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