The smell of turkey roasting and pies cooling is the ultimate holiday aphrodisiac for me. I adore this time of year and always have. That’s why years ago when I was a kid, I had a meltdown of epic proportions when my family couldn’t pull it together for Thanksgiving and replaced the beloved turkey with a store-bought freezer lasagna — the horror. It left a permanent mark on my holiday-loving soul and my dislike was so rememberable that even my cousins still talk about it to this day. Yes, even at 10-years-old, I was a glorified food snob. This year, I couldn’t wait any longer for the big day so I threw some turkey legs in a roasting pan and made these White Wine Braised Turkey Legs for dinner the other night. Such a simple dish that it can be made for a weeknight dinner or for a small holiday dinner (and save your guests from a frozen lasagna nightmare).
White Wine Braised Turkey Legs
These fall-off-the-bone tender turkey legs are incredibly simple to make and just require an overnight dry brine (optional but amazing), a quick sear, then a sit in the oven for a few hours. Here I have seared the turkey, a few carrots and leeks, then deglazed the pan with white wine and chicken stock. After that, cover and place in an oven for 2 hours until the turkey is practically falling apart. The best part of this recipe is that you can’t mess it up.
wine and beer pairings
according to the sommelier and certified beer snob husband
wine: (red) Cru Beaujolais (best crus are Fleurie, Morgon, Brouilly, Julienas, or Moulin-a-vent), Pinot Noir, Spanish Garnacha, or”old vine” Cargnan
beer: Siason, Farmhouse, Lager, wheat beers, or even a Belgian Wild Ale
peppercorn dry brine
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 2 whole star anise
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
for the turkey legs
- In a skillet, toast black and pink peppercorns, coriander seeds, anise, and bay leaves over medium heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a coffee grinder or food processor and process until fine. You can alternatively place in a plastic food-safe bag and crush with a mallet or rolling pin until coarse. Combine with salt and sugar. Rub mixture over the turkey and place in glass dish and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Rinse the turkey legs completely with water and pat dry with paper towels.
- In a roasting pan or large heavy-bottomed pot large enough to hold the turkey, heat oil over high heat. Sear the turkey until golden, about 3 minutes a side. Remove turkey and add leeks, carrots, and garlic; sauté for 2 minutes or until lightly browned and remove. Add wine and bring to a boil. Simmer until reduced by half then add the chicken stock, turkey (skin side up), and vegetables; bring to a boil. Immediately cover with foil or lid and place in the oven. Braise for 2 hours, or until the turkey is tender and falling off the bone, then remove the lid and allow to cook for another 15 minutes to allow the skin to slightly crisp.
- Strain the pan juices from the vegetables and serve as a sauce alongside the turkey legs.
by Meredith Steele