ROAST TURKEY WITH BREAD AND SAUSAGE STUFFING
3 cups day-old bread cut in 1" cubes
12 ounces mild pork sausage
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped Granny Smith apple
1/4 cup each minced parsley and fresh sage
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup quick turkey stock (recipe follows) or chicken broth
1 - 10 to 12 pound turkey
6 whole sage leaves
1 stick unsalted butter
Cheesecloth to cover the bird
Place the bread cubes in a large mixing bowl.
Pull the casing off the sausage and break meat into a large, hot skillet. Sauté until it is just cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon to the bowl of bread cubes.
Sauté the onion, celery and apple pieces in the warm sausage fat until they are lightly cooked but still firm. Scrape them into the bowl with the bread and sausage. Add the herbs; toss mixture and season with salt and pepper. Deglaze the skillet with the stock and drizzle it over the stuffing and toss again. Cover and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees 2-1/2 hours before serving time.
Oil the bottom and sides of your roasting pan as well as the rack.
(I assume you have already trimmed off the last joint of the turkey wing and removed the neck and giblets for stock.) Rinse the turkey inside and out and pat dry.
Loosen the skin around the neck area enough to slide your hand between the skin and the meat over the breast on both sides. Spread three sage leaves in this space on both sides.
Lightly salt the neck and body cavities. Stuff these areas and secure the neck by folding the skin over the opening and pinning it shut with a skewer or toothpick.
Truss the bird to close the body cavity: Cut off a length of string 3 times the length of you outstretched arm. Center the string over the neck flap of the bird. Run the string toward the legs pinning down the wings. Cross the string under the turkey tail, and bring it up over the ends of the drumsticks. Draw the string down crossing strands between the turkey legs and pull them back again toward the neck, pinning down the wings again. Tie string over the stuffed neck cavity.
Melt the butter in the skillet and soak the cheesecloth. Lift the bird onto the roasting rack and set it breast side up. Cover it with the soaked cheesecloth. Pour 1/4" water into the bottom of the pan. Roast turkey for 15 minutes in the hot oven.
Turn the turkey on one side, add more water if the pan is dry, and roast 15 minutes. Repeat on the other side. Remove the turkey and turn down the oven to 350 degrees. Turn the turkey on its breast. Remove cheesecloth and return it to the oven for 1 hour.
Give the turkey a final turn so the breast is up. Season it and moisten the cheesecloth in the skillet or pan drippings. Cook another 30 minutes.
Test the temperature of the breast meat with a thermometer to see if it has reached 160 degrees. You can also look to see if the juices produced by cutting through the skin between the chest and leg run clear. Continue roasting if these tests reveal more cooking time is necessary.
When the bird is done, lift it carefully onto a cutting board to cool for at least 15 minutes while you make the pan sauce.
Remove the trussing strings. Cut off the wings and legs. You can either slice the thigh meat with the leg whole or separate drumstick and thigh first. Slice the breast meat against the grain from the neck end.
Spoon some stuffing next to the turkey slices on each plate and moisten with natural juices. Pour on some sauce and serve immediately.
Yield: 10-12 servingsBread