Herb-Rubbed Turkey with Pear Stuffing


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Impress your family next Thanksgiving with this creative stuffing and delicious recipe.

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  • 1/2 C. uncooked wild rice
  • 2 Tbs. margarine or butter
  • 2 14 oz. cans chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 C. orzo pasta
  • 2 medium red pears, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 C. toasted chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/2 C. sliced green onion
  • 1/2 C. golden raisins
  • 1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
  • 3 Tbs. dried sage leaves
  • 3 Tbs. dried savory leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp. whole white or black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. celery salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 10- to 12-lb. turkey
  • Cooking oil or olive oil
  • 1/4 C. all-purpose flour
  • Chicken broth or water
  • Salt and pepper (optional)
  • Autumn fruits such as pears, crab apples, and lady apples
  • Assorted fresh herbs, such as tricolor sage, sage, or bay laurel (optional)

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Rinse and drain rice. In a medium saucepan cook rice in the margarine or butter over medium heat for 2 minutes. Carefully add the 2 cans chicken broth. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Add the orzo; return to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10-12 minutes more or until rice is tender. Stir in pears, hazelnuts, green onion, raisins, and ginger. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a clean, dry blender container combine sage, savory, peppercorns, celery salt, and paprika. Cover and blend until coarsely ground. Set aside.

Lightly spoon pear stuffing into neck and body cavities. Pull neck skin of turkey to back and fasten with a skewer. If a band of skin crosses the tail, tuck the ends of the drumsticks under band. If there is no band, tie drumsticks to the tail. Twist wing tips under the back. Place any remaining stuffing in a casserole; cover and chill.

Brush turkey with cooking oil or olive oil. Rub ground herb mixture over entire bird. If desired, loosen skin from breast and rub mixture over meat under breast skin to infuse greater flavor from rub into meat.

Place bird, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of one of the inside thigh muscles. (The bulb should not touch the bone.) Cover turkey loosely with foil. Roast for 2 1/4 hours. Cut the band of skin or string between the drumsticks so the thighs will cook evenly. Continue roasting for 3/4 to 1 1/4 hours more, or until thermometer registers 180 degrees and stuffing registers 165 degrees. Uncover the last 30 minutes of roasting. Bake any remaining stuffing, covered, the last 45 minutes of turkey roasting. Remove from oven. Cover turkey; let stand for 15 minutes before carving.

Transfer turkey to a serving platter. Pour pan drippings into a large measuring cup, scraping the browned bits into the cup. Skim and reserve fat from drippings. Pour 1/4 C. of the fat into a medium saucepan; discard the remaining fat. Stir in flour. Add enough chicken broth or water to remaining drippings to make 2 cups. Add all at once to flour mixture in saucepan.

Cook and stir broth mixture over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. If desired, season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish serving platter with fall fruits and assorted fresh herbs, if desired.

Yield: 12-14 servings

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