- Two 8- to 9-pound fresh capons, at room temperature
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 4 rosemary sprigs
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1 quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 4 heads of garlic, halved crosswise
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 475°. Season the capon cavities with salt and pepper and stuff each with 2 sprigs each of thyme and rosemary and 4 tablespoons of butter. Tie the legs of each capon together with kitchen string. Season the outside of the capons with salt and pepper; fold the wing tips under. Place each capon in a separate roasting pan (the 2 pans should fit on the same oven shelf).
- Add 1 cup of stock to each pan and roast the capons for 20 minutes. Baste the capons and arrange 2 halved heads of garlic in each pan, cut side down. Lower the oven temperature to 350° and roast the capons for another 20 minutes. If making Glazed Caramelized Carrots, remove 1/4 cup of pan drippings from each pan, using a bulb baster, and reserve. Continue to roast the capons for about 1 hour longer, basting 2 more times, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the inner thigh registers 170°.
- Lift the capons from the roasting pan, tilting them to allow the cavity juices to run into the pan. Transfer the capons to a carving board and cover loosely with foil. Set the garlic halves aside. Strain the pan juices into a large glass measuring cup. Skim 1 1/2 tablespoons of fat from the surface; transfer the fat to a small bowl. Skim off and discard the remaining fat. Whisk the flour into the reserved fat to make a paste. Set each roasting pan over moderate heat and when sizzling, pour 1 cup of the remaining stock into each pan. Simmer the stock, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom and sides of the pans, about 4 minutes. Add the stock to the pan juices.
- Transfer the juices to a medium saucepan. Squeeze the softened garlic cloves into the pan juices and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. With an immersion blender, puree the garlic until the sauce is slightly thickened. Whisk about 1/2 cup of the gravy into the flour paste until smooth, then whisk it back into the saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, whisking occasionally, until no floury taste remains, about 5 minutes. Season the gravy with salt and pepper.
- Carve the capons and serve, passing the gravy at the table.
Both white and red wines pair well with Tom Valenti's Thanksgiving feast, and there's no reason not to serve both. For a white, choose a round, slightly buttery wine without too much oak, to match the richness of the Thanksgiving meal. Consider a white Burgundy, such as a Meursault. For a red, try one of the fruity, silky wines of France's Rhône Valley; they have the brightness and body to stand up to the many flavors here.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.