Serve this moist and tender Herb Roasted Turkey with Pear-Pecan stuffing (see recipe below for stuffing) for Thanksgiving and you will hear the “oohs and aahs” from your family and friends at the dinner table after they have tasted their first bite.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Roast Time: 3 hours, 50 minutes
Makes 12-14 servings
1 14-pound turkey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick/4oz/113g) butter, softened
2 to 3 tablespoons snipped fresh thyme, tarragon, marjoram, and/or rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pear-Pecan Stuffing (see recipe below)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 C).
2. Remove giblets and neck from interior cavity of turkey; reserve for gravy stock. Rinse bird; pat dry. Cut off wing tips; reserve for gravy stock. Season cavity with salt and pepper.
3. For Herb-Butter Seasoning, combine butter, the fresh herbs, and garlic. Starting at the neck end of the turkey, loosen the skin by sliding your fingers underneath it, being careful not to tear it. Slide your hand as far as you can toward the other end of the turkey, separating the skin from the meat. Rub about two-thirds of the herb-butter seasoning over the entire breast.
4. Spoon some of the Pear-Pecan Stuffing (see recipe below) into the neck cavity. Skewer neck skin to back. Spoon more of the stuffing loosely into the body cavity. (If you pack stuffing too tightly, it will not get hot enough by the time the turkey is cooked.) Tuck drumsticks under tail skin, or tie to tail. Transfer any remaining stuffing to a 2-quart casserole; cover and chill in the refrigerator.
5. Place turkey, 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.
6. Rub remaining herb-butter seasoning over the entire turkey. Cover turkey loosely with foil. Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) Continue roasting turkey for about 3-1/2 to 4 hours or until thermometer registers 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Cut band of skin between legs after 2-1/2 hours so the thighs will cook evenly. Bake casserole of stuffing alongside turkey during the last 40 minutes or roasting. During the last 30 minutes of roasting, uncover turkey.
7. When done, remove turkey from oven; cover. Let turkey stand 20 minutes before carving. To serve, remove stuffing from turkey; transfer to a serving bowl. Carve turkey and serve warm.
PEAR PECAN STUFFING
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 40 minutes
1 pound firm-texture white sandwich bread
2 tablespoons butter (no substitutes)
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 large firm ripe Bartlett pears, cored, peeled, and chopped
1/2 to 3/4 cup water
1/4 cup (1/2 stick/2 oz/56g) butter
1 cup pecan halves, toasted and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons snipped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).
2. Spread bread slices on baking sheets. Place baking sheets in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until bread is dry.
3. Place the 2 tablespoons butter, the onion, and pear in a large skillet; cook over medium heat until tender but not brown, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
4. Break the dried bread into small pieces. Place in a very large bowl. Bring 1/2 cup water and the 1/4 cup butter to boiling in a small saucepan. Add to bread crumbs, and toss just until moistened.
5. Stir in pear mixture, pecans, parsley, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Add the remaining water as needed until mixture reaches desired moistness. Stuff turkey and roast in a 325 degree F (160 C) oven or transfer stuffing to a 2-quart casserole and bake, covered in a 325 degree F (160 C) or 350 degree F (180 C) oven about 40 minutes or until heated through.