Braised Turkey Legs 6.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Feb 27, 2013

This preparation doesn't take a lot of time or money, yet it yields a homey meal and plenty of leftover options.

Make Ahead: The braised turkey meat, sauce and vegetables taste even better after a day's refrigeration; the sauced meat freezes well.

Servings: 6 - 8
  • Olive oil
  • 4 pounds skin-on turkey legs and thighs
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery (from 2 or 3 large ribs)
  • 1 to 2 cups water, plus more as needed (may substitute no-salt-added turkey or chicken broth, or dry white wine, or a combination)
  • Potatoes, peeled and quartered (optional)
  • Turnips or rutabagas, peeled and quartered (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Ground cayenne pepper (may substitute hot pepper sauce)
  • Fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley, for garnish


Coat the bottom of a large Dutch oven with oil and heat over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers.

Season the turkey pieces all over with salt and pepper. Add to the pot and cook just long enough to brown the pieces on both sides. Transfer to a plate and add the onion and celery to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes or until softened, then return the turkey pieces to the pot, arranging them on top of the vegetables.

Add water to a depth of 1 inch. Once it begins to bubble at the edges, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender and falls easily away from the bone. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and discard the skin and bones, leaving the dark meat in chunks and shreds as you see fit.

At this point, you can use the liquid remaining in the pot to cook the optional vegetables. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are easily pierced with a fork. Transfer them to a bowl, then increase the heat to medium-high and reduce the remaining liquid in the pan to intensify its flavor.

Whisk the cornstarch into 1/2 cup of water to form a slurry. Reduce the heat to medium and gradually add the slurry to the pot, stirring until slightly thickened. Season with the cayenne and the lemon juice, if using; taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. Return the turkey meat and cooked vegetables, if using, to the pan and stir to coat and heat through. Remove from the heat and add the parsley.

Serve right away; or cool completely, transfer to a container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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