John's Turkey with Stuffing
Prior to beginning, thaw turkey in the refrigerator for several days. Length of time required for thawing will vary by size of the turkey. Take turkey from a plastic bag and remove giblets from the bag inside the body cavity. Place giblets in a large saucepan and add 1 quart of chicken broth. Head the giblets to a boil and reduce to simmer while you prepare the rest of the turkey and stuffing.
Take large bags of Pepperidge Farm stuffing and empty into a large bowl. I like the regular stuffing mix and not the cornbread stuffing, but either are fine depending on one’s personal taste. Heat 4 cups of chicken broth in another large saucepan with 6 tbsp of butter. This doesn’t need to boil, but must be hot and the butter must be melted and mixed in thoroughly. While this is heating, add 2 tbsp of butter to a large skillet and heat on medium heat until butter is melted. Add 2 cups of diced onion and 2 cups of diced celery to the frying pan and gently sauté for 5-6 minutes until the celery and onions are tender but not mushy. Add the sautéed celery and onions to the stuffing mix. Add 2 tbsp of sage to the stuffing and then add in the heated chicken broth and butter previously heated up. Mix this thoroughly using your hands. Finally add in 2 raw free-range Covey Rise chicken eggs and again mix thoroughly. The eggs will make the stuffing moisture.
Take 1 28 lb. Covey Rise Farms pastured turkey and rinse the body cavity out thoroughly using cold water, drain thoroughly and pat dry the inside and outside of the bird using paper towels. Salt and pepper the body cavity and then fill the cavity with the stuffing mixture and then stuff the neck area cavity. I often use toothpicks to secure the neck skin to keep the stuffing from falling out. Salt and pepper the outside of the bird.
Take a large cooking bag and place 2 tbsp of flour in the bag and shake it around to coat the inside of the bag. Place the turkey into the bag and close using the plastic closure device that comes with the bag. Puncture the bag 2-3 times using a knife to allow steam to escape.
Heat oven to 350 degrees and cook until turkey is done. This is about 20 minutes per pound but the turkey may be done quicker than this since the bag makes it cook quicker. A meat thermometer may be used, and 165 degrees internal temperature is done. The turkey is also done when the leg easily pulls away from the body.
Remove turkey from the bag and collect the drippings in a large bowl and throw the bag away. Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes prior to carving. Remove stuffing from cavities prior to carving and place in a serving bowl to serve.
While turkey is cooking, the gravy can be made. After the giblets have been simmering for an hour, remove the giblets and slice the heart, liver and gizzard In small cubes, Strip the meat from the neck and add all of this meat back to the chicken broth and turn heat off. Salt and pepper to taste. After removing the turkey from the oven, bring the giblets and broth to a boil and add in the turkey drippings. Take 2 tbsp of cornstarch and dissolve in ½ cup of water. While the gravy is boiling, still in the cornstarch slurry to thicken the gravy. Gravy can be served as is or it can be strained to remove the giblets if preferred.
Slice turkey and place on a platter and serve along with the stuffing and homemade gravy. Enjoy!