Give your Thanksgiving main course a fall twist with these maple-braised turkey legs and thighs! After slow cooking in the oven, these ultra moist turkey pieces turn fall-off-the-bone tender, and the real maple syrup adds a slight sweetness to complement the rich dark meat. For an easier, quicker alternative to roasting an entire bird, you will love this braised turkey recipe, especially if hosting a small crowd for Thanksgiving.
3-5poundsturkey legs and thighsabout 2 legs and 2 thighs
Salt and pepper
1cupapple cider vinegar
1cupreal maple syrup
2dried bay leaves
1-2fresh sage sprigs
Several fresh thyme sprigs
Heat oven to 275 degrees. Pat turkey legs and thighs dry with a paper towel and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour.
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add turkey skin-side down and cook until browned, about five minutes. Flip and cook until the other side browns, about another five minutes. You don't want to overcrowd the pan, so don't add more than two or three pieces at a time. Otherwise, the skin won't brown properly. If the Dutch oven starts to get too hot, you can turn the heat down to medium.
After you brown all the turkey, turn the heat down to medium if you haven't already and place the browned turkey on a separate plate. If necessary, add a little more oil to the pan. Cook the onion slices for about four minutes. Pour in the apple cider vinegar and scrap up the brown bits.
Stir in the maple syrup, chicken stock, bay leaves, sage and thyme. Add turkey and bring the mixture to a boil. Move the Dutch oven to the 275-degree oven and cook uncovered until the leg meat is fall-off-the-bone tender, about 2 hours. Loosely cover the meat with foil and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving. Enjoy!
To make gravy: Strain 2 cups braising liquid and set aside. Melt ¼ cup butter in a large skillet over medium heat and then whisk in ¼ cup all-purpose flour. Whisk continuously for about three to four minutes. Then, slowly pour in the braising liquid, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Continue to cook until it thickens to your liking.The gravy will have a bit of a sweet flavor because of the maple. However, if you'd rather have a standard gravy, simply substitute the braising liquid with regular chicken stock.
While you can serve four people with a single piece, you can easily serve up to six people if you carve the meat off the bones.
For the crispiest skin, pat dry with paper towels, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and store overnight in the refrigerator uncovered. Dredge with flour the next day and proceed with the rest of the steps.
The turkey shouldn't be fully submerged to encourage browning in the oven. The liquid should cover the turkey by about halfway.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.