Roasted Turkey with Root Vegetable Stuffing

2 1-pound loaves crusty, country white or wheat bread
1 12- to 14-pound fresh, free-range turkey
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup unsalted butter
2 large onions, diced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 bunch celery ribs
1/2 pound button mushrooms
1 pound parsnips, celery root, or rutabaga, or mixture of all, peeled and diced
1 bunch Italian parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 cup fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
1 to 2 cups turkey or chicken stock

Tear the unsliced bread into 1/2-inch chunks and let dry on sheet pans or in large bowls overnight.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Rinse the turkey inside and out and pat dry. Make a paste of salt, pepper, and olive oil. Rub turkey all over, inside and out, with paste and set aside on rack in roasting pan.

In a large heavy pot, melt the butter over moderate heat. Sauté the onions with salt and pepper until transparent. Add all the vegetables, turn up the heat, and cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are limp, about 15 minutes. Add parsley and sage and 1 cup of turkey or chicken stock and bring to a boil. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Place dried bread pieces in large bowl, reserving 2 cups. Pour 3/4 of the vegetable mixture over the bread, mixing well with your hands. Adjust with more bread or vegetables until the stuffing is an even combination of bread and vegetables. To test for consistency, try to squeeze stuffing mixture in your hand to form a ball. If too dry to hold together, adjust with additional stock.

Stuff turkey, loosely filling cavity. Truss with metal skewers or sew with needle and thread. Place remaining stuffing in a casserole and dot with butter.

For extra crisp skin, cover the breast with 4 layers of cheesecloth. Baste with melted butter and place in the oven. Roast turkey for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F, basting occasionally with pan drippings. Turkey is done when drumstick wiggles loosely. Let sit 10 minutes before carving.
 
 
 

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© 2012 Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger.  All rights reserved.