Roast Turkey with Oyster Stuffing

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Oysters are a tradition on the Chesapeake. But what used to be the most valuable fishery in the Bay is now a mere fraction of the size.  Many volunteers…kids, schools, locals…have been pitching in recently to help seed oyster “gardens” to boost the populations. So in appreciation of our most precious bivalve, my co-pirate and I are tag-teaming to celebrate The Oyster with America’s favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.

Chesapeake Bay Sausage & Oyster Stuffing

For a 10-12 lb turkey

1 lb pork sausage
2 onions, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons rubbed sage
1 16 ounce jar of shucked oysters
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 1/2 packages (~21 ounces) Herb Seasoned Stuffing
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

oyster stuffing ingredients

It’s time for Thanksgiving and I couldn’t resist buying the Amish Roll Butter…2 lbs worth. Looks just like the butter my Mom and I used to make with Grandpa Foster’s cream. (minus the Sea Salt. That wasn’t big in the early 60s.) I figured this would get us through Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Amish butter

Preheat your galley oven to between 325-350 degrees. Roasting pans take up a lot of room on a sailboat so for this Thanksgiving dinner we put the turkey in a (cheap) disposable foil pan and placed it on a cooking sheet for added support.

Light your burner and heat up your largest sauce pan. Saute the sausage until just brown. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and saute celery and onions for 5 minutes. Add seasonings and oysters, with their juice. Cook until oysters start to firm up, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth and stuffing mix. Toss stuffing mix in the broth until it is moistened. Turn off you burner and continue to toss for another minute or so.

stuffing in pan

Carefully stuff your turkey, one large spoonful at a time. We had lots of room in the pan today so stuffing was added all around. The stuffing soaks up the drippings so if you add stuffing all around, it gives you little grease to make gravy. It also makes it harder to baste the turkey. Today we sacrificed the gravy and basting for the stuffing.

uncooked turkey

Place in your preheated oven. Keep the heat between 325-375 degrees.

turkey in the oven

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