1/2 cup butter or margarine
3 medium celery stalks, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup chopped onion
9 cups 1/2-inch cubes cornbread or soft bread
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves, crumbled
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 whole turkey (12 lb), thawed if frozen
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary leaves, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried sage leaves, crumbled
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
- Heat oven to 325°F. In 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook celery and onion in butter about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender; remove from heat. In large bowl, mix celery mixture and remaining stuffing ingredients until well blended.
- Stuff turkey just before roasting, not ahead of time. Fill wishbone area lightly with stuffing. Fasten neck skin to back with skewer. Fold wings across back with tips touching. Fill body cavity lightly. (Do not pack–stuffing will expand while cooking.) Tuck drumsticks under band of skin at tail, or tie together with heavy string, then tie to tail.
- In small bowl, mix rosemary, 1 tablespoon sage, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the garlic; rub into turkey skin. Place turkey, breast side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Brush with 1/4 cup butter. Do not add water. Place meat thermometer in thickest part of inside thigh muscle so thermometer does not touch bone.
- Roast uncovered 4 to 5 hours, brushing with pan juices every 30 minutes, until thermometer reads 165°F and drumsticks move easily when lifted or twisted. Thermometer placed in center of stuffing should read 165°F.
- Place foil loosely over turkey when it begins to turns golden. When turkey is two-thirds done, cut band of skin, or remove string or skewer holding legs. When turkey is done, place on warm platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Let stand about 20 minutes for easiest carving. While turkey is standing, prepare Foolproof Gravy if desired.
- To serve, garnish turkey with fresh herb sprigs, if desired.