Capon with sage stuffing makes a nice change from holiday turkey. This type of bird is readily available during the winter holiday months, but usually must be special-ordered.
1 7-8 lb. capon
7 tbsp. butter, softened
Leaves from 1 bunch fresh sage
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 lb. slab bacon, cubed
1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
Grated zest from 1 lemon
4 cups day-old bread cubes
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Loosen skin from capon breast by starting at the neck and sliding your hand under skin, being careful not to tear it. Rub 2 tbsp., of the butter under skin, then tuck 6-8 of the sage leaves under skin. Rug capon all over with 3 tbsp. of the butter and season generously inside the cavity and out with salt and pepper. Put capon on a rack set inside a roasting pan and set aside. Chop remaining sage and set aside.
2. Put bacon into a large skillet and fry over medium heat, stirring often, until lightly browned, 10-12 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Add onions, reserved sage, and lemon zest to skillet and cook, scraping browned bits, until soft, 3-5 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to the same bowl. Melt the remaining 2 tbsp. of the butter in skillet, add bread cubes and cook, stirring, until pale golden and crisp, 5-8 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to the same bowl and mix well. Adjust seasoning. Spoon stuffing into capon cavity.
3. Roast capon until internal temperature of thigh reaches 165°, about 2 1⁄2 hours. Remove capon from oven, loosely cover with foil, and set aside to let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with stuffing.