Cider-Braised Turkey Legs
With this slow braising method, tender turkey legs are a meal unto themselves, perfect for dark-meat lovers. The recipe comes from chef Bill Taibe, owner of LeFarm.Also try: Sweet Sausage, Sage, and Hazelnut-Stuffed Turkey Breast
- 2 turkey legs (from one 15- to 16-pound turkey)
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 leeks, white and light-green parts only, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch rounds
- 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh sage
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Rinse and dry turkey legs; season on all sides with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Place bacon in a large Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until bacon begins to crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
Increase heat to high and add olive oil. Add turkey legs, skin side down, working in batches if necessary. Cook, turning, until turkey is browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer legs to a plate and discard all but 1 tablespoon of rendered fat from Dutch oven.
Add carrots, celery, and leeks to Dutch oven and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add brown sugar and cook until it begins to bubble. Add thyme, sage, bay leaves, and cider; bring to a boil and stir, breaking up any browned bits at the bottom of pan. Continue boiling until cider is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a slow simmer and add reserved bacon. Return turkey legs to Dutch-oven, skin side down; cover and transfer to oven. Cook for 40 minutes, turn turkey legs, uncover, and continue cooking until legs are tender, 45 to 50 minutes more.
Transfer turkey legs to a serving platter. Skim fat from top of braising liquid and discard; season braising liquid with salt and pepper and spoon over turkey legs. Serve.