Roasted Free-Range Turkey with Pear and Chestnut Stuffing


The Oven-Roasted Chestnuts are key to this stuffing and add a unique nuttiness that practically screams "fall."


  • 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter

  • 6 stalks celery, strings removed, cut into ¼-inch dice

  • 2 large onions, cut into ¼-inch dice

  • ¼ cup fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

  • ½ pound Oven-Roasted Chestnuts, shelled and chopped

  • 27 stale slices white bread, (1 ½ pounds), crusts removed and cut into ¼-inch dice (about 8 cups), lightly toasted

  • 1 ¼ cups Homemade Turkey Stock, or low-sodium canned chicken broth, skimmed of fat

  • 4 unripe Anjou pears, cored, peeled, and cut into ½-inch dice

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 12- to 14-pound free-range turkey


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. To make the stuffing, in a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add celery and onions; cook, stirring, until translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons thyme, and sage, parsley, chestnuts, and bread. Add stock, 1/2 cup at a time, until bread becomes moist. Stir in pears; remove from heat.

  2. Place remaining 1 stick butter, remaining 2 tablespoons thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt in food processor. Pulse until well combined; set aside.

  3. Wash turkey, and pat dry. Place, breast side up, on a roasting rack set in a large roasting pan. Season turkey cavity with remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Fill cavity loosely with stuffing. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Fold neck flap over; secure with skewers. Rub thyme-butter mixture all over turkey.

  4. Roast for 2 1/2 hours, basting often. Continue baking 30 to 45 minutes more, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 180 degrees. If turkey becomes too brown, tent it with aluminum foil. Let cool for 20 to 30 minutes before carving.

Cook's Notes

Use unripe Anjou pears. The stuffing may also be baked separately in a buttered casserole at 375 degrees until heated throughout, 30 to 45 minutes.

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