New England Roast Turkey with Cranberry-Pecan Stuffing
For stuffing, cook celery and onion in margarine or butter in a small saucepan until tender. Remove from heat. Stir in sage, thyme, and pepper. Place dry bread cubes in a mixing bowl. Add celery mixture, pecans, and cranberries. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth, tossing to moisten.
Release turkey legs from leg clamp or band of skin crossing the tail. If desired, remove leg clamp from body cavity. Rinse turkey inside and out; drain and pat dry with paper towels. Just before roasting, spoon some stuffing into neck cavity. Pull neck skin over stuffing; fasten to back with a short skewer.
Loosely spoon stuffing into body cavity (no more than 3/4 cup stuffing per pound of turkey.) Do not pack stuffing tightly, or it will not get hot enough by the time the turkey is cooked. (Transfer any remaining stuffing to a casserole, adding the 1 to 2 tablespoons chicken broth, if desired, for additional moistness; cover and chill casserole.) Tuck legs under band of skin or reset into leg clamp. If leg clamp has been removed, tie legs together with string. Twist wing tips under back.
Place stuffed turkey, breast side up, on rack in a shallow roasting pan. Brush with cooking oil. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of an inside thigh muscle so the bulb does not touch bone. Cover turkey loosely with foil, leaving some space between the bird and the foil. Press foil over legs and neck.
Roast in a 325 degree F oven for 3 to 3-1/2 hours or until thermometer registers 180 degree F and juices run clear. The center of the stuffing should be at least 165 degree F. Add covered casserole of stuffing during the last 30 to 45 minutes of roasting. If desired, during roasting, baste the turkey occasionally with drippings. Remove the foil the last 30 to 45 minutes to let the bird brown.
Remove turkey from oven and cover loosely with foil. Let stand for 20 minutes before carving. Release legs from leg clamp, or snip string or band of skin. To avoid possible burns, do not remove leg clamp from the hot bird after roasting. Remove stuffing from turkey. Store leftover turkey and stuffing in separate containers as soon as possible after serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.