CAPÓN DE VILALBA/THE VILALBA CAPON “REI DOS PRATOS E PRATO DOS REIS” (PÍO IX)/"THE KING OF DISHES

AND A DISH FIT FOR KINGS" Mundialmente coñecidos pola súa calidade e respecto á tradición, os capóns de Vilalba, son pitos novos castrados e cebados que posúen unha carne tenra debido a que acumulan sucesivas capas de graxa nos seus músculos. Known worldwide for their quality and respect for tradition, the Vilalba capons, are young castrated fattened chickens which have tender meat due to the many layers of fat that build up on their muscles.

O proceso de cría pasa por dúas etapas; unha primeira en liberdade, cunha alimentación natural a base de cereais, auga e o que atopan no campo como insectos, herbas e sementes. Unha segunda, durante a que se ceban no interior a base de millo triturado, patacas cocidas e castañas coas que se forman boliños alongados que se introducen directamente na boca do animal. Their breeding is in two phases; the first is out in the open where they feed naturally on cereal, water, insects, grass or seeds; the second phase is for fattening indoors where they are fed ground corn, boiled potatoes and chestnuts which long rolls are made with and placed directly in the birds' mouth.

Os capóns sacrifícanse tres ou catro días antes da noiteboa e a través da feira do capón de Vilalba, que se celebra desde 1838 uns días antes do 24 de decembro, comercialízanse e envíanse a distintas partes do mundo. The capons are slaughtered three or four days before Christmas Eve and during the Vilalba capon market, held since 1838 just before December 24th, ther are sold and exported around the world. Para a súa intacta conservación hasta o día de Noiteboa e debido a que moitos viaxan fóra de Galicia e de España, unha vez limpos introdúcense en auga quente salgada e

preséntanse coa súa graxa encima sostida por palillos feitos ao xeito tradicional das propias plumas do pito. So as to maintain their perfect quality until Christmas Eve and due to the fact that many travel out of Galicia and Spain, once

they have been cleaned, they are placed in hot salty water and they are presented in their own fat with a type of toothpicks which are made the traditional way with the birds' feathers.

O capón, un produto que chegou a nós a través do camiño de Santiago e se conservou durante séculos, era na antigüidade, un xeito de pago de foros e rendas e só se consumía nas mesas máis poderosas; hoxe en día constitúe un dos pratos tradicionais das ceas de Noiteboa de moitas familias. Un exemplo de receita para a cea de noiteboa é a seguinte. The capon, a product which reached us through the Santiago Way and has remained with us for centuries, used to be a form of payment among the powerful and it was only found upon the wealthiest tables. Currently it is a typical Christmas dish in many households. The following is a typical recipe. CAPÓN ASADO AO ESTILO DE VILALBA/ROAST CAPON VILALBA STYLE INGREDIENTES/INGREDIENTS: - Un capón coa súa graxa/a capon and its fat - Unha cebola pequena/a small onion - Unha copa de coñac/a glass of brandy - Unha cabeza de allo/a bulb of garlic -Sal/salt - Aceite de oliva virxe extra/extra virgin olive oil

XEITO DE PREPARACIÓN/PREPARATION: Colócase o capón limpo sobre unha bandexa e pínchase a súa pel cunha agulla para facilitar a saída de graxa durante o asado. A continuación, sazonamos con sal por dentro e por fóra. Atamos as patas e pregamos as ás para que non se desfaga ao cocelo.

We place the clean capon on a tray and we prick it with a needle so that the fat can flow out during the roasting process. Then, we add salt inside and out. We tie its legs and we hold down the wings so it does not break while it is cooking. Unha vez preparado todo isto, colocamos a graxa do capón no fondo da bandexa na que imos cociña-lo e o pito por encima. Engadimos a cebola enteira e pelada e a cabeza de allo e por último vertemos o aceite sobre todo isto. Once this is ready, we spread the fat/grease of the capon on the oven tray and put the capon on top. We add the onion and the garlic and pour the olive oil all over. Finalmente metémolo no forno quentado previamente a 160 º durante tres ou catro horas dependendo do peso e características do animal. O proceso remata, pinchando de vez en cando a pel do capón mentres está no forno e botando por encima a salsa desprendida da propia cocción. Finally, we place the tray in a previously preheated (160 degrees) oven for three to four hours depending on the size. We should prick the capon from time to time and pour the capon sauce over it frequently. Para rematar mencionar que o capón non só é amigo dos bos padais, se non tamén dos grandes literatos posto que aparece mencionado en multitude de obras literarias de gran calidade firmadas por autores como Quevedo, Cervantes ou Gabriel García Márquez na súa obra “Cien años de soledad”. Pero sen dúbida foi o poeta Manuel María na súa obra “Terra Chá”, un dos que mellor os describiu: To end, we must say that the capon is not only a favourite of the best palates but also of some of our best writers like Quevedo or Cervantes and even Gabriel García Márquez mentions it in "A hundred years of solitude". But undoubtedly, it was the poet, Manuel María, who best depicted it: “Estes pares de capóns Da bisbarra vilalbesa! Nunca ollei outros tan bos En toda a terra luguesa! Cébanse moi ben cebados. Hai que matalos despois Cando se ven desplumados Teñen un peso de bois.

"This couple of capons from the land of Vilalba! Never have I seen better in the whole of Lugo! They are well fattened. Then they must be slaughtered. When they are plucked they weigh like an ox.

Outro exemplo do mesmo autor é o seguinte poema musicado por Xosé Luis Rivas (Midi) Another example from the same author is the following poem which Xosé Luis Rivas (Midi) wrote the music for. COPLAS A UN CAPÓN QUE SE CHAMABA DEVESA/ COUPLETS TO A CAPON CALLED DEVESA El era un pitiño cairo que se chamaba Devesa e tiña as patas topinas, a crista arrichada e tesa. He was a tiny chick whose name was Devesa he had spotty legs and a stiff crest Nacera nun galiñeiro feito de táboas e paus amaba ós pitos de granxa, odiaba ós propios irmaus! It was born in a coop made of boards and sticks he loved the farm chicks, and hated his own kin! Non era de sospeitar que pito tan desmedrado poidera chegar a ser un galo forte e barbado. You wouldn't have guessed that such a chick came to be A strong bearded cock Pero puxo tal empeño en poder selo primeiro que chegou mesmo a comer as táboas do galiñeiro. Yet he was so eager to be the first that he even ate the coop boards. El mandaba e galeaba, non respetaba a ninguén, creíase o rei do mundo e só miraba ó seu ben. He ordered and pushed respected no one, he believed he was the king and only cared for himself. E cando o galo Devesa andaba máis valentón, súa ama tomou o acordo de convertilo en capón. And when Devesa, the cock, was at his bravest, his owner decided to turn him into a capon. Adeus gozo, adeus poliñas, adeus mando e valentía! Con todo o capón Devesa aínda non aprendería…! Bye pleasure, bye hens, bye boss and bravery! And even so Devesa would not learn the lesson...!

Foi el sempre tan teimudo buscou o xeito e maneira de poder mandar nos outros e reinar na capoeira. He was so stubborn that he found the way to still rule over the rest and reign in the coop. Pra someter ós colegas uns catro ou cinco capós, aproveitou a lei D’Hont e convocou eleiciós. To convince his mates four or five capons he took the D'Hont law and held elections. E puxo na propaganda: “Eu son galo coma ti e para poder medrar has ter que votarme a min”. And the slodan read: "I am a cock like you and in order to grow you should vote me" Presidindo a capoeira e mandando nos demais servía ben ós seus amos pra poder medrar el máis. Presiding over all and ruling over the rest he well served his owners so as to grow more. Pro de nada lle valeron manganchas e pillerías cando veu a matachina pra rematar cos seus días. But of no use were his tricks and troubles

when the slaughterman came to end his days. Entón o ex- galo Devesa, que foi gran fornicador, escomenzou a chorar e dixo con gran dolor: So then Devesa, the ex- cock a great fornicator, began to cry, and said with great pain: -“Vinde galos e galiñas, salvade a miña semente que se falta a miña raza non sei que será da xente!” "Come cocks and hens, save my seed, cause if my lineage ends, what will be of the people?" LETRA/LYRICS: MANUEL MARÍA MÚSICA/MUSIC: X.L. RIVAS (Mini)

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