Chef Carole Peck of Carole Peck’s Good News Cafe in Woodbury, Connecticut, often cooks her turkey in a foil tent. The method, she says, is gentler than roasting because the bird stays moist as it essentially steams inside its pouch. The stuffing can be prepared up to three days in advance and refrigerated, but be sure to bring it to room temperature before you stuff the bird or you’ll throw off the cooking time.
Heat oven to 375°. Place a flat rack in the bottom of a roasting pan. Line pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, leaving sides long enough to fold together and enclose the bird (about 3-½ x 3-½ feet). Rinse turkey and pat dry, inside and out. Fill cavity with stuffing (about 4 or 5 cups); pull excess skin over opening of cavity and seal with a skewer. Brush skin with oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place additional stuffing in a large baking dish and set aside. Place turkey in pan, breast side up. Fold foil up and over the bird, pinching foil to seal; be sure to leave 1 inch of air space around turkey. Place in oven and cook 2-½ hours.
Remove from oven and insert a meat thermometer through foil into turkey’s thigh. If temperature reads below 160°, return pan to oven and roast an additional 20 to 30 minutes. If thigh temperature is 160° or more, carefully peel back foil, rolling it down to meet edges of pan. Brush skin with pan juices and return turkey to oven to roast, uncovered, an additional 40 to 45 minutes. When turkey is golden brown and thigh has reached a temperature of 170° or above, remove bird from oven.
Take stuffing from cavity and place in a baking dish; cover loosely with foil. Reduce heat to 350° and place both dishes of stuffing in oven to keep warm. Let turkey rest at least 30 minutes before carving.
Pear and Apple Cornbread Stuffing
In a large bowl, toss apples and pears with lemon juice; set aside. In a smaller bowl, toss cranberries with sugar; set aside.
In a 5-quart saucepan, saute onions in oil over medium-high heat 5 minutes, or until onions become translucent. Add garlic and lemon zest and cook, stirring quickly, 30 seconds. Add mushrooms, stirring to combine all ingredients. Cook 12 to 15 minutes, or until mushrooms have released their liquid and reduced in volume by half. Add dill, thyme, sage, nutmeg, and allspice; stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium, then add apples, pears, and cranberries. Cook 5 to 10 minutes, just until fruit begins to soften and release some juice. Remove from heat. Add cornbread and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
Yield: about 2 quarts