Our family tradition changed when Mom passed away almost a decade ago. Now, family travels from all over the country for the annual dinner in my sister's Chicago condo. Our family tradition also includes cooking the dressing and turkey separately.
1 turkey, 12 to 14 pounds, thawed, if frozen
2 teaspoons coarse salt
Coarsely ground pepper
3 ribs celery
1 each, halved: medium onion, orange, lemon
1 cup water, apple juice or white wine
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
Fresh Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing:
1 pound fresh chorizo
2 large onions, chopped
1 green pepper, cored, seeded, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) melted butter
1 cup turkey drippings or chicken broth
2 packages (8 ounces each) cornbread stuffing mix
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place turkey in roasting pan. Sprinkle turkey inside and out with salt and coarsely ground pepper, to taste. Secure skin by folding tucking wings under body and tying drumsticks together with twine. Place celery, onion, lemon and orange in turkey cavity. Add 1 cup water, apple juice or wine to pan. Spread softened butter over the skin. Roast 45 minutes. Rotate the pan; lower heat to 350 degrees. Roast, basting with pan juices occasionally until a thermometer inserted into the fleshiest section of the thigh registers 170 degrees on a meat thermometer, about 3 1/2 hours.
Transfer turkey to a platter. Let stand about 25 to 35 minutes until thermometer measures 180 degrees.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 325 degrees. Place fresh chorizo in a heavy skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up until brown and crumbly, about 15 minutes. Pour off all but about 1/4 cup of the fat. Add onions, green pepper and celery. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir in the butter, drippings and cornbread stuffing mix, mixing well.
Transfer to a sprayed or oiled 13-by-9-inch baking dish; cover with foil. Bake until still moist with edges and top beginning to crisp and brown, about 45 minutes.