Orange Roasted Turkey with Pecan Rice Stuffing

14 – 16 lb. turkey

1 orange, cut in half

2 tsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. dried thyme

8 Tbsp. softened butter or margarine

1 Tbsp. ground sage

2 tsp. thyme (second amount)

1 tsp. crushed dried rosemary

3 Tbsp. orange juice

2 Tbsp. grated orange rind

In a food processor, combine butter, ground sage, thyme, rosemary, orange juice and orange rind. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 425º F. Clean and rinse turkey. Pat dry. Squeeze juice of one orange over turkey and into cavity and rub side of orange over the skin. Rub with salt and thyme and sprinkle some inside the bird. Stuff with Pecan Rice Stuffing (recipe below). Set in a large roasting pan. Brush liberally with the softened butter mixture over the skin of the turkey. Reserve extra. Tent with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Lower heat to 325º F. and remove tent. Brush with more butter mixture and bake for 3 hours or until tender. Baste occasionally with butter.

PECAN RICE STUFFING

2 cups wild and brown rice (combined)

4 cups chicken stock

2 Tbsp. butter or margarine

1 cup each, chopped onion, carrot and celery

1 cup toasted pecans

10 – 16 oz. Italian sausage, cooked, drained and crumbled

2 Tbsp. fresh, chopped sage or 2 tsp. dried sage

1 – 2 tsp. dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, melt butter and sauté onions, carrots and celery until soft (3 – 5 minutes). Add rice mixture and mix to coat. Add stock and simmer, covered until rice is soft and liquid is absorbed. Add remaining ingredients. Cool to room temperature and stuff turkey or bake in a covered casserole for 30 minutes.

Gravy

2 Tbsp. butter or margarine

1/3 cup orange juice

1 medium onion, chopped

¼ cup white wine

2 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 3 Tbsp. orange juice

Collect juice from turkey and from the pan. Cool and skim fat off. In a saucepan, melt butter and sauté onions over low heat until soft (3 minutes). Add wine and orange juice and simmer until liquids are reduced by half. Add pan juices and simmer 6 minutes to reduce. Thicken with cornstarch mixture and serve.

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