Make sure the turkey is at room temperature when it goes into the oven; otherwise it will take longer to roast Preheat the oven to 475 degrees . Rinse the turkey inside and out and pat dry. Season the cavity with salt and pepper and set the bird on a rack in a roasting pan large enough to let air circulate all around. Rub the softened butter over the breast and legs and season with salt and pepper. Roast the turkey in the top third of the oven for about 30 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees , cover the turkey loosely with foil and continue roasting, basting often, for about 1 1/2 hours, or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 175 degrees . Transfer the turkey to a serving platter, cover again with foil, and let stand for at least 20 minutes before carving.
Meanwhile, cut the turkey neck and gizzard in half. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan and add the neck, gizzard, heart and wing tips. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Stir in the onion and celery and cook until golden. Add the wine and boil until reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, thyme and bay leaf and cook over very Iow heat until reduced to 3 1/2 cups, about 1 hour. Strain the turkey stock into a bowl; reserve 1 1/2 cups for the stuffing.
3. In a small bowl, mix the water with the flour until smooth. Remove the rack from the roasting pan and spoon off the fat. Set the pan over 2 burners on high heat. Add the remaining 2 cups of turkey stock and bring to a boil, scraplng up any browned bits from the bottom of the roasting pan. Whisk in the flour paste and cook until the gravy thickens, then add the port. Strain the gravy into a sauceboat. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy and Sausage Apple Stuffing
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and generously butter 2 medium baking dishes that are at least 2 inches deep. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the celery and onions and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, just until it loses its pink color, about 7 minutes.
In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes with the prunes, apples, parsley and sage. Add the sausage mixture and season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the eggs and reserved turkey stock and mix well. Divide the stuffing between the prepared baking dishes. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for about 10 minutes longer, or until heated through and browned on top. Let cool slightly before serving.
Yield: MAKES ABOUT 10 CUPS
If possible, buy the sausage from a butcher shop that makes its own--you can ask the butcher to sell you a pound without the casings and save yourself a few minutes of prep work. .
Recipe courtesy of Nancy Verde Barr