This recipe appears in:The Food Lab's Definitive Guide to Buying, Prepping, Cooking, and Carving Your Holiday Turkey The Food Lab: Red Wine-Braised Turkey Legs
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer 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.
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- 2 whole turkey legs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 1 large carrot, roughly chopped
- 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
- 2 medium cloves garlic, smashed
- 4 thyme sprigs, about 3 inches each
- 2 rosemary sprigs, about 5 inches each
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1 quart homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon sliced chives
Preheat oven to 275°F. Season turkey legs generously with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat oil in a large straight-sided sauté pan over high heat until shimmering. Add turkey legs skin-side down. Cook without moving until deep golden brown, about 8 minutes. Flip legs and cook until second side is browned, about 5 minutes longer, reducing heat as necessary if oil smokes excessively. Transfer turkey to a large plate.
Return skillet to heat and add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, and rosemary. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are well browned, about 8 minutes total.
Add wine, bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add stock and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Nestle turkey legs into pan, letting it rest on the vegetables so that only its skin is exposed. Transfer to oven and cook, uncovered, until legs are fall-apart tender, sauce is reduced, and skin is deep mahogany, about 2 hours. Carefully remove from oven and transfer turkey legs to a plate using a slotted spatula.
Strain liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl or medium saucepan. Discard solids. Skim excess fat from surface and discard. Set liquid aside.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in hot turkey cooking liquid until fully incorporated. Bring to a boil to thicken, and season to taste with salt and pepper (you may not need any salt depending on how salty your broth was to begin with).
Carve turkey legs between the thigh and drumstick, removing thigh bone if desired. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with chives and serve with hot gravy.