Roasted Free-Range Turkey with Pear-Chesnut Stuffing
- 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 6 stalks celery, strings removed, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 large onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1/4 C. fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh sage leaves
- 1 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 lb. roasted chestnuts, shelled and chopped
- 27 slices stale white bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/4-inch dice, lightly toasted
- 1 1/4 C. Homemade Turkey Stock, or low-sodium canned chicken broth, skimmed of fat
- 4 unripe Anjou pears, cored, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 Tbs. salt
- 1 12-14 lb. free-range turkey
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Make stuffing in a large skillet. Melt 4 Tbs. butter over medium heat. Add celery and onions; cook, stirring, until translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in 2 Tbs. thyme, and sage, parsley, chestnuts, and bread. Add stock, 1/2 C. at a time, until bread becomes moist. Stir in pears; remove from heat. Place remaining 1 stick butter, remaining 2 Tbs. thyme, and 1 tsp. salt in food processor. Pulse until well combined; set aside.
Wash turkey, and pat dry. Place, breast side up, on a roasting rack set in a large roasting pan. Season turkey cavity with remaining 2 tsp. salt. Fill cavity loosely with stuffing. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Fold neck flap over; secure with skewers. Rub thyme-butter mixture all over turkey.
Roast for 2 1/2 hours, basting often. Continue baking 30-45 minutes more, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 180 degrees. If turkey becomes too brown, tent it with aluminum foil. Let cool for 20-30 minutes before removing the stuffing and carving.
Note: The stuffing may also be baked separately in a buttered casserole at 375 degrees until heated throughout, 30-45 minutes.
Yield: 8-10 servings