USDA-certified organic turkeys are fed organically grown seed and grain, never given antibiotics and raised with outdoor access. They're also more expensive and cook more quickly than their conventionally raised counterparts. Whichever bird you serve, keep it in the oven until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 180° to 185° and juices run clear when thigh is pierced with the tip of a knife. The stuffing can be made a day in advance and placed in the turkey just before cooking.
Servings: Serves 8–10
Ingredients 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil1 large yellow onion , chopped into 1/4-inch dice4 stalks celery , chopped into 1/4-inch dice1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) white button or cremini mushrooms , sliced3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried)3/4 cup dried cranberries3/4 cup chopped walnuts2 cups prepackaged mixed brown and wild rice4 cups chicken broth1 teaspoon salt , plus more for turkey1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper , plus more for turkey1 (12-pound) organic turkey
In a 4-quart pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue cooking 3 more minutes. Add sage, cranberries, walnuts, rice, broth, salt and pepper. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook 45 minutes, without lifting lid. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°. Remove neck and bag of giblets from turkey cavity, then rinse turkey inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Fill neck cavity with some cooked rice mixture—don't stuff too tight. Fold neck skin over rice and fasten to turkey back with 1 or 2 skewers. Spoon remaining stuffing into body cavity—again, don't stuff too tight. (If any rice mixture remains, place in an ovenproof dish and cover with foil.) Fold skin over cavity opening. Tie legs and tail end of bird together with kitchen string. Rub remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over skin of turkey and season generously with salt and pepper.
Place turkey on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast about 3 1/2 hours, basting with juices and drippings in bottom of pan during last hour of roasting. Remove from oven and let sit 15 minutes before serving.
Transfer turkey to a large platter. With a spoon, transfer rice from turkey to a bowl. To reheat extra rice, place ovenproof dish in oven with turkey during last 30 minutes of cooking, until heated through. Serve at once.