Roast Turkey with Sage Stuffing; and a few more words on words

I realized I have never posted a recipe for the turkey for Turkey Day.

We don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving and I rarely do a turkey here. They’re expensive, and mon mari prefers chicken. For a big holiday dinner I will roast a capon, (which is what the photo is).

However, I stuffed and roasted lots of turkeys back when I lived on the other side of the pond…..

This recipe is for a small turkey or medium capon…. perfect for a dinner for 6, or two with leftovers.

A stuffed 8 – 10 pound turkey will take 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 hours to took.  You need a meat thermometer so you don’t over cook it.  It is overcooking that causes dryness.

BTW, I checked some of my many cookbooks for roasting times and they ranged from 2 1/2 hours to 4 hours for an 8 lb bird… that’s a big range – get a thermometer.

Roast Turkey with Sage Stuffing

Total time: 4 hours 


  • 3 tbs soft butter
  • 2 tsp dried sage
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 – 2 cups turkey or chicken stock see below

  • 1 cup Madeira
  • 1/4 cup regular coffee or 1/4 tsp instant granules
  • 2 – 4 tbs cornstarch dissolved in 2 – 4 tbs chicken stock or more, depending on how much stock you have from the turkey



  • Mix 2 tbs of the butter, the herbs and the mustard. 
  • Loosen skin across top of bird by pinching gently.  Work your hand under the skin on the breast.  With your finger tips rub butter mixture over the breast under the skin, covering as much of the surface as you can. 
  • Rub the remaining 1 tbs of butter over the outside of the skin. 
  • Spoon some stuffing inside the cavity loosely, about 3/4 full, and tie legs together. 
  • Spoon some more stuffing inside the neck cavity and skewer the neck flap closed.  (I have used anything from proper turkey skewers to toothpicks to safety pins.) 
  • Put bird on a rack in a roasting pan and into a 450F (230C) degree oven for 15 minutes. 
  • Reduce heat to 325F (165C) and roast until temperature in thickest part of thigh reaches 180F (82.2C) or 170F (76.6C) in breast, or until juices run clear when pierced with a knife. 
  • For a 6 lb bird this should take about 2 1/4 hours; an 8 lb bird 3 hours. 
  • To baste:
  • Combine the coffee and 1 cup stock.  Baste the bird every 15 minutes or so alternating between stock, Madeira and the pan drippings.

The stock: earlier in the day If your bird came with the neck and giblets

  • Heat 2 cups of chicken stock with 2 cups of water. 
  • Add some celery tops (the ones you cut off the stalks for the stuffing, an onion, cut in half, a carrot cut into chunks and the neck. 
  • Bring to a boil, skim off any scum that rises. 
  • Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then add the gizzard and heart. 
  • Simmer another 20 minutes, skimming.  Then add the liver. 
  • Simmer another 20 minutes.  Strain the stock into a bowl and use in both stuffing and basting. 

  • Discard the vegetables. 
  • Finely chop the giblets.  
  • Pull the meat off the neck and chop.  Add the meats to the stuffing along with the onions, celery, Prosciutto.  

Sage, Prosciutto, (Giblet) and Celery Stuffing

          Lay the bread out the night before to let it dry.  It, doesn’t have to be perfectly, evenly
dried.  If you are using the giblets add 4 more slices of bread.


  • 12 (16) slices white bread, dried
  • 1 – 2 cups turkey or chicken stock
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 ribs celery
  • 3 – 4 slices Prosciutto
  • 4oz (125gr) mushrooms optional, instead of giblets
  • chopped giblets   if you have them 

  • 1 tbs sage
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 egg


  • Chop the onion and celery.
  • Trim and chop the mushrooms, if using. 
  • Heat the butter in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. 
  • Add onions, celery,  (mushrooms) and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.  
  • Chop the Prosciutto and add to the onions.  Sauté another 5 minutes.  
  • Set aside. 

  • Tear bread into small chunks and put into a large bowl. 
  • Add sage and thyme and mix well. 
  • Add celery/onions and chopped giblets and mix well. 

  • Now comes the hard part:
  • I can’t tell you how much stock to use.  It depends on how dry your bread is, how moist the celery and onions are, etc.  Start with 1/2 cup and drizzle over the top of the bread chunks.  Mix well.  
  • Continue adding 1/4 cup at a time and mixing well.  Mixture should just start to cling together, not all of it but most of it, and none of the bread cubes should be totally dry nor should they be mushy.   Got it?   At this stage stop adding stock. 

  • In small bowl lightly whisk egg.
  • Fold into stuffing mixture and combine thoroughly. 
  • Stuff bird.
  • Refrigerate the remaining stuffing until ready to bake. 

  • An hour before dinner:
  • Put the refrigerated stuffing into a roasting pan, cover and put into the oven.  
  • Bake the stuffing for 30 minutes, remove cover and bake 15 minutes longer. 
  • Oven temp is whatever works for the rest of the dinner.  The stuffing in the bird will be very moist and in the pan rather dry – mix the 2 before serving.  

To finish:

  • Remove the bird and put on a platter.  Cover with a foil ‘tent’ and let rest for 20 – 30 minutes. 

  • Pour juices from the roasting pan into a saucepan, adding stock to roasting pan to help scrape up the bits on the bottom if necessary. 
  • Skim off as much fat as you can. 
  • Add any remaining stock and/or Madeira and bring to a boil over medium heat. 
  • Taste – need anything?
  • Give cornstarch mix a stir and slowly whisk into the stock, stirring until thickened to your liking – more or less cornstarch as needed. 
  • Keep the gravy warm while you carve the bird. 
  • Remove stuffing from bird – both ends, and combine with baked stuffing. 
  • Carve, serve with stuffing and gravy on the side.

Now, after having done my duty in the food blog world for the big day….

Can anyone tell me how a kitchen utensil can be ‘nonbland’?

What does that word mean and is it a word anyway?!?!?

We went to Bordeaux today (mon mari being now officially stir-crazy and in desperate need of an outing). As usual, I used the time to catch up on magazines.

In the November issue of Cooking Light there is an article on cook’s tools. Silicone is described as “naturally nonstick, nonslip, nontoxic and nonbland”.

First – I chuckled over the fact that it was both nonstick and nonslip…. I understand what they meant but I think better words could have been chosen. I mean… which it it? Slippery or sticky?

I also know what they meant by nontoxic.

But nonbland?

I would expect my cooking equipment to not impart any flavors to the food but wouldn’t that make it bland?

And nonbland, being an opposite, would make it tasty?

Or spicy?

Or exciting?

I accept the fact that Shakespeare often made up words if he couldn’t find the right one….

But, um, I hate to be the one to tell you, Cooking Light….

You’re not Shakespeare.

Get a Thesaurus.

7 thoughts on “Roast Turkey with Sage Stuffing; and a few more words on words”

  1. Rrrrrr… I’ll try that again. JUST as I hit “post”, I got disconnected.
    Nonbland?? Based on that description, if I didn’t already have not one but three silicone scrapers as well as three silicone (if one is good, more must be better) pastry brushes, I would NEVER get a silicone utensil! And how sad that would be. They’re the best.
    Like votre marie, I prefer chicken to turkey (actually, I can’t stand turkey) and always insist on roasting and stuffing 2 chickens or a capon for Thanskgiving and Christmas. I love the sound of basting with stock and coffee! Remind me to try that at Christmas!

  2. I just want to thank you for sharing your information and your site or blog this is simple but nice article I’ve ever seen I like it I learn something today.

  3. Phoenicia, I never thought of bland as referring to a color…. more like plain rice cooked in plain water….
    manningroad, me too… very bland.
    Elizabeth, I don’t have much silicone anything – a muffin pan I think is all. The turkey here is actually better here, less dry and more flavor. But we still get a capon… or little chickens.
    jubilada, exactly!
    Tanna, I did a 6lb turkey one year – perfect. Well, I did it near Thanksgiving, we don’t actually celebrate it any longer….

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