Turkey and Cranberry Pie

[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

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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.

Turkey and Cranberry Pie

About This Recipe

Yield:6 to 8
Active time:1 hour
Total time:8 hours
Special equipment:Pie pan


  • 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


  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    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.

  6. 6

    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).

  7. 7

    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.


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