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Sep 17, 2008 12:01 PM

Wine pairing for orange roasted capon

This recipe from The New Basics (Julie Rosso & Sheila Lukins) has so many distinctive flavours - especially: orange, fennel, rosemary, and garlic, I'm not at all sure which wine would best accompany. Any suggestions?

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  1. Cotes-du-Rhone or a wine from one of the appellations villages such as Rasteau, Sablet, Vacqueyras.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Brad Ballinger

      Hmmm! Well I have a couple of Côtes-du-Rhône Saint-Esprit 2001 from Delas. Thank you Brad.
      Cheers, Robin

    2. Riesling would be my first choice... kabinett or spatlese....

      4 Replies
      1. re: Chicago Mike

        Oh! Really? I was rather hoping a red would turn out to be best. Hence my pleasure at the Côtes-du-Rhône suggestion. Is it because of the orange, you'd go for a Riesling? It'll have a little Grand Marnier in it too!
        Still I'm open to all suggestions and very happy to receive them.
        Thank you.

        1. re: candelar

          there's a rather famous thread on here featuring a "bitterorange" and chicken dish that you might want to hunt down. there were a few fireworks over the thread and I haven't seen the poster since, but the bottom line is riesling was the most successful match... Be aware that there was a fair amount of controversy as to whether a drier or "non-drier" riesling was the way to go. It's not controversial in my mind because it's all on a flavor spectrum as far as I'm concerned and while one diner might prefer a half-dry, another diner might like a non-dry auslese with it, it's that variable... I know others don't quite see it that way, just speaking from my experience.

          And yes it is largely due to the connection with orange, but riesling also works splendidly with "chicken" in general and garlic, and does well with fennel and rosemary for that matter...

          Honestly I can't think of a red that's in the same league match-wise. If you didn't ahve the orange I'd certainly look at a sauvignon blanc or chardonnay, but the orange tips it to riesling, IMO.

          Gewurztraminer or scheurbe would probably be my second choices.

          1. re: Chicago Mike

            I second Chicago Mike - riesling in this combi is wonderfull! Myself I will try it sometime with a few years old half-dry good Loire chenin blanc, like a Vouvray or Montlouis from a good year.

        2. re: Chicago Mike

          It seems like no matter the question, someone on this board is going to recommend a "kabinett or spaetlese" Riesling. What mystifies me about this is that there are four rather different wines that fall under that recommendation, and they pair with significantly different foods (aged kabinett, young kabinett, aged spaetlese, young spaetlese). It does quite a disservice to Riesling, which is a wonderful and food-friendly wine, but unless you're already a big fan is not going to shine with a lot of these knee-jerk (bidons) recommendations.

          1. re: maria lorraine

            I'm not sure that would be allowed -- would it? I'm thinking of copyright restrictions. The book does say:
            "All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced--mechanically, electronically, or by any other means, including photocopying--without written permission of the publisher."
            That would pretty well cover this situation, wouldn't it? Sorry!

            1. re: candelar

              The rule on copyright is this:
              You can always post the ingredients, as listed.
              Then, simply paraphrase the procedure.The procedure is the only portion of the recipe that is copyrighted.

              Here is the official rule from Chowhound:
              "-- Ingredient lists don't fall under copyright protection, so you're welcome to repost those verbatim. The instructions and any intro paragraphs are covered under copyright protection; these you should paraphrase in your own words."

              1. re: maria lorraine

                I checked and I had the recipe. Here are you, paraphrased and everything:

                Orange Roasted Capon

                Basting Sauce
                1 cup orange juice
                6 T. butter
                1 T. orange zest
                1 T. finely chopped rosemary

                1½ pounds small onions, peeled
                1 fennel bulb, cut into strips
                1 sprig rosemary
                1 head of peeled garlic cloves
                ¼ cup orange flavored Cognac
                2 T. butter
                1 T. slivered orange zest
                Salt and pepper
                8½ lb. capon
                20 baby carrots
                1 lb. pattypan or other small squash

                Combine basting ingredients in bowl.
                Combine all other ingredients except Capon in bowl and toss. Stuff mixture into cavity, and place two halved onions under breast skin. Place in roasting pan (add 1 cup water to bottom), baste and roast 8o minutes, basting every 20 minutes throughout roasting. Remove capon from oven. Transfer onion stuffing mixture to roasting pan, along with carrots and squash and toss with pan juices. Roast another hour. Carve capon, arrange vegetables around capon on platter. Degrease pan juices and serve in sauceboat.

                The recipe is heavily weighted towards orange, onion, fennel, and rosemary, using the capon as the base flavor.
                Any orange liqueur will work.
                I believe the procedure is flawed, in that the capon is removed from the oven for more than an hour while the vegetables are roasting. In that time, the capon has cooled too much, and the skin lost its crispness.
                I'd be tempted to put the capon on a roasting rack, and the vegetables in the bottom of the roasting pan, since they will be roasted with the pan juices anyway.

          2. Pinot Noir.

            Riesling, but only of a certain specific type.

            After looking (and transcribing!) the recipe, and comparing it to the other recipe mentioned above in the other thread, I'm going to come down on the side of a red.

            This is meaty bird that with heavily roasted flavors -- which tips it towards red.
            Orange has a great affinity to Pinot Noir, as in Duck a la Orange.
            Pinot Noir takes very well to a small hint of something in the anise/fennel family, mainly because that flavor is often found in the wine itself.
            Rosemary has a greater affinity with red wine than white, given that it shows up often as a flavor note in red wine.

            This recipe differs from the one mentioned in the other thread, in which the spice cumin plays a major role and the orange role is far diminished in comparison. Cumin is more "exotic" that the spices in this recipe, and pairs better with Riesling, which has some affinity with it. Riesling doesn't have the same affinity with rosemary.

            The other recipe is here:

            And the other thread referred to above is here:

            Stickler for accuracy:
            It's a mischaracterization to say that that the most successful wine pairing for the chicken with orange and cumin dish was Riesling. In fact, the OP of that thread, the very knowledgeable Carswell, wrote:
            ""I also wasn't quite as "slam dunk" about the Riesling as moh,
            found the Clos Jordanne Pinot Noir as enjoyable a match as the Beyer [Riesling]”

            Carswell's dining companion (moh) wrote this:
            "2. Leon Beyer Cuvee des Comptes d’Egiusheim Riesling 1996. A nicely aged Riesling with a touch of residual sugar and spiced honey notes, as well apricots. This was my favorite choice of the evening. When paired with the chicken, the apricot and honey notes teamed up with the cumin to explode in your mouth! The residual sugar balanced the tart Seville orange flavours beautifully. I wanted to combine the chicken with this wine over and over again! The wine also went well with the onion tart, essentially a quiche made with sautéed onions and bacon.

            3. Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Pinot Noir 2004. Light ruby colour, raspberry and red currant fruit, very smooth and elegant tannins, and that lovely earthy quality of all fine Pinot Noirs. Very balanced wine. This wine also went beautifully with the chicken. The fruit in the wine matched well with the cumin, and the tannins were smooth and did not overpower the chicken.

            The Riesling and the Pinot complemented the chicken beautifully, creating a perfectly balanced wine-food synergy. The experience was truly hedonistic."

            The other thoughts about Riesling from that thread were:
            It must be a big, opulent one, or it won't work. An aged Alsatian, with a touch of sweetness, but no more. German Rieslings won't have the necessary oomph.

            So, I'm thinking Pinot Noir. Not a big one, not a Pinot Noir that's Syrah. But a Pinot with developed red fruit flavors -- raspberry, plum -- with an umami anchoring, and medium weight. I can also see the bright pomegranate fruit of a Barbera
            working well with the orange and fennel. Bright acidity. Could even be a good Beaujolais. No red heavier than Pinot though or it will dominate the flavors of the dish.

            Here's another thread that talks about Pinot Noir with orange and fresh fennel:

            Good luck and I hope it goes well. You can always serve two wines and see what you think. Though the aged Riesling may be pricey. You got me in the mood to go purchase a capon and roast it!


            3 Replies
            1. re: maria lorraine

              Wow! Thank you, Maria, for such a detailed response -- and with so much helpful information. Lovely!

              By the way, my copy of the recipe doesn't say to remove the capon from the roasting pan for an hour -- only to remove the onions from its cavity and add them to the pan juices. The bird stays in the oven throughout. Until it's taken out to rest for fifteen minutes before being carved. So it should still be good and hot -- as well as crisp.

              And I do like the suggestion of the Pinot Noir. I don't know about having the Riesling as well. As you say, that might get quite pricey!

              Thanks so much to all for your valuable suggestions. I'll let you know how it goes.


              1. re: candelar

                Just checked the recipe, and wording is not clear. It doesn't say to return the capon to the roasting pan, but of course that is what you must do, and I sure hope it's tasty.

              2. re: maria lorraine

                Folks, we'd like to remind you that no one here is keeping score and there are no prizes. We've removed a number of posts from this thread rehashing the recommendations on a previous thread.

                There is lots of room for personal taste and preferences in wine pairing as in all other chowish endeavours and we'd ask that people give their recommendations, discuss them in a friendly manner and focus on being helpful rather than on declaring winners and losers amongst posters.

              3. Robin,

                I read maria's paraphrasing. Pinot Noir. Hand's down.

                If I also did a white, I would do a good, fuller Austrian Muskateller or an off-dry German Scheurebe. But... that is not necessary.

                1 Reply
                1. re: whiner

                  Oooh, yum! The Muskateller suggestion really does it for me, looking at the recipe. Most people would probably better enjoy a red with that dish, but yowza that sounds good to me. I bet you could make a carnitas-like variant of that recipe with pork ... and that with a full Muskateller, oh baby!