Red-Wine Braised Turkey Legs

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

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Red-Wine Braised Turkey Legs

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About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 4 to 5
Active time:1 hour
Total time:3 hours
Special equipment:Heavy lidded sauté pan
This recipe appears in: The Definitive Guide to Buying, Prepping, Cooking, and Carving Your Thanksgiving Turkey The Food Lab: Red Wine-Braised Turkey Legs
Rated:

Ingredients

  • 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

Procedures

  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    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).

  6. 6

    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.

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