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Leonardo da Vinci's Secret Renaissance Christmas Recipes Revealed

The big table in da Vinci's workshop in Milan was piled high with tasty Christmas food. There was a shiny, perfectly-cooked capon (aka a special chicken roster which is a bigger, juicer bird) in the middle, typically roasted and seasoned with parsley, sage, and garlic. The table had figs wrapped in prosciutto, marzipan cakes sprinkled with sugar, and dates cooked in a sweet red wine syrup. A pot of rich capon broth, made from the juices of the roasted bird and mixed with egg yolks, was bubbling by the fire.

Da Vinci's buddies, all artists themselves, were grabbing food on their metal plates and filling their cups with wine. They were lit up by the fire as they cheered for da Vinci's role in keeping their city safe this Christmas.

After lots of feasting, da Vinci served up panettone, which is a sweet bread full of raisins and bits of candied citrus. Its scent filled the place while everyone got a piece. This was like the cherry on top of a great Christmas party with his nearest friends.

Brodo di Cappone (Capon Broth)


1 capon carcass (You can use a roster carcass)

2 quarts water

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

celery stalks, chopped

handful of parsley

2 egg yolks

grated parmesan cheese


Simmer capon carcass in water with vegetables for 2-3 hours until flavorful. Strain and reserve broth.

Temper egg yolks with a ladleful of hot broth.

Add egg mixture back to pot stirring constantly.

Add parsley and parmesan before serving.

Panettone (Sweet Bread)

Dry ingredients:

4 cups flour

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp yeast

Wet ingredients:

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup raisins

Zest of 1 orange

Mix dry ingredients. Make a well and add wet ingredients. Mix until dough comes together.

Knead dough until smooth. Cover and let rise 1 hour.

Shape dough into circular loaf. Let rise 30 minutes.

Bake at 400F for 30 minutes until golden brown. Best cooked for traditional flavor using a Wood Fired Smoker/Grill.

Here's how to cook a tasty capon for Christmas dinner:

Pick a capon that's between 8-10 pounds if you're serving 4-6 folks. Roasting it should take about 1.5-2 hours.

Before you cook it, let the capon warm up to room temperature for half an hour. After that, pat it dry using paper towels.

· Heat your oven or wood fired oven to 450°F before you begin. Coat the capon with either olive oil or butter, then sprinkle on plenty of salt, pepper, and herbs like sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley and garlic, both inside and out.

· Tie the legs and wings against the body using kitchen string to keep its shape during cooking.

· Put the capon breast side up on a V-rack inside a roasting pan. Let it cook for 20 minutes at high heat to crisp up the skin.

· After that, turn the oven down to 350°F and keep roasting for another 1-1.5 hours. You'll want to baste it now and then with the juices from the pan, and cook until the interior hits 165°F.

· Cover with foil if you notice the skin getting too dark too quickly; this will stop it from charring. Take off the foil in the last quarter-hour.

· Once done, wait for 15-20 minutes before cutting into it so that the juices settle back in. Pour some of those tasty pan juices over your slices when serving.

· If you want the skin extra crispy, roast at 425°F all the way through—but keep an eye out to keep it from burning.

· Filling the capon with lemon, onion, and more herbs can enhance flavor, although this might mean a bit more time in the oven.

And if you're after an old-school roast vibe, cook it over a wood fire grill for that classic taste.

The trick is blasting it with high heat early on for the crispiness, then turning it down to make sure it cooks through nicely. Basting and letting it sit before cutting are vital for a soft, juicy bird!

As we bid adieu, let me extend my heartfelt thanks for embarking on this illuminating journey from science to historical fiction with me. Your presence and support bring the past to life through my content. Don't forget to tap that like button and gallop along into the universe of my YouTube channel at for never-ending adventure at the intersection of History and Historical Fiction. Be sure and visit the community central site - there's always something fascinating to hear, see and explore across the various related internet sites. I'm all ears and super curious about your thoughts. Drop a line or two, and let's turn this channel into a space where we dive into the depths of history through the power of imagination, together. I'm your trusty guide, Ron Townsen, navigating the halls of historical fiction. If you've had a blast and fancy buying me a virtual drink of coffee, head over to Ronald Townsen Presents | Patreon. It's like a cosmic tip jar for storytellers like me. As we gallop onwards through the universe of historical fiction, remember: our imaginations are the spur, and the past is not gone - it's just the beginning. Thank you for being a stellar part of this storytelling caravan. Stay curious, be awesome, and let your imagination continue to ride through the ages!


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