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About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Managing Editor of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.
- 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 whole turkey legs, divided into thighs and drumsticks
- 1 1/2 quarts turkey or low sodium chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 sprigs parsley, leaves minced, stems reserved
- 1 small carrot, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 3 stalks celery, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 medium onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup flour
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 recipe Easy Pie Dough, made without the sugar
- 1 egg white
- Coarse sea salt, such as Maldon
Combine cranberries, sugar, and a 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan and add 1/2 a cup of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally and crushing berries with a wooden spoon until completely broken down, about 15 minutes. Set aside at room temperature.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Brown turkey legs in hot butter, turning to brown both sides, about 8 minutes total. Add stock, bay leaves, and parsley stems. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover with a heavy lid set slightly ajar, and cook until turkey is fall-apart tender, about 3 hours.
Using tongs, transfer turkey legs to a large bowl and set aside to cool. Strain liquid through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids. Skim fat off of liquid using a ladle, then set liquid aside (there should be about 4 cups). When turkey is cool enough to handle, pick meat into 1- to 2-inch chunks, discarding skin and bones.
Return Dutch oven to medium-high heat and add remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Heat until butter is melted then carrots, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour. Cook, stirring constantly until pale golden brown, about 3 minutes. Whisking constantly, slowly pour turkey cooking liquid into pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook until reduced to about 3 cups and as thick as heavy paint.
Add turkey to pot and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in chopped parsley. Set aside until completely cool, at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450°F and adjust the oven rack to the center position. Roll bottom pie crust out and fit inside a 9-inch pie plate. Add cranberry mixture to bottom and spread into a smooth, even layer. Pour turkey mixture on top of cranberries (you may have a little more than you can use).
Roll out top crust and seal pie. Whisk egg white with 1 tablespoon water. Brush top crust with egg white mixture and cut 3 to 5 holes for ventilation. Sprinkle sparingly with coarse sea salt. Place pie in oven and bake for 15 minutes until pale golden brown. Reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking until deep golden brown and mixture is starting to bubble through the vents, about 45 minutes longer. Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving.