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We vastly prefer capon—a moist, tender bird—to the dry, bland meat of the grotesque commercial turkey. However, organic- turkeys are becoming increasingly available, and they are delicious. You can substitute an organic turkey of the same weight for the capon in this recipe. We prepare this dish on Christmas Day.
Italian Family Dining by Edward & Eugenia Giobbi
• 1 capon (10 pounds) or organic turkey
• 8 garlic cloves, sliced
• 4 tablespoons crushed dried rosemary
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon crushed fennel seeds
• 2 Clementines or small tangerines
• 3 cups white wine (red wine is okay), plus another cup on hand
• 10 dried figs
Heat the oven to 450°F.
With your fingers, loosen the skin from the breast and slip the garlic and half the rosemary under the skin. Rub the bird with salt, pepper, crushed fennel seeds, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of rosemary. Salt and pepper the cavity. Stuff the bird with the clementines.
Place the capon breast-up in a large roasting pan and pour about 2 cups of wine into the pan. Roast the capon for about 45 minutes, until it begins to brown. Add the figs to the pan and turn the capon over. Continue roasting until the back of the bird turns brown, about 30 minutes. Turn the capon back over, so it is breast-up again, and add the remaining 1 cup of wine. Continue to cook, basting often, for another 30 minutes or so, for a total cooking time of about 1 hour and 45 minutes, until the leg separates easily from the torso and the juices from the bird run clear. If the pan juices dry out, add some more wine.
Remove the bird from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes. In the meantime, strain and defat the pan juices. Carve the bird and dribble the pan juices over the meat.
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