Dreamy's Delights

It's all about the food!

Braised Turkey

on January 26, 2013

I made this at Thanksgiving and didn’t post the recipe! *GASP* Fortunately I had some thighs and legs in the freezer so I decided to make this today. The ingredient list looks a little intimidating but it’s actually really easy to make. This recipe comes from the 2011 Thanksgiving issue of Cooks Illustrated. It is one of my favorite ways to make turkey (besides smoking) and the braising liquid makes fabulous gravy.


Published November 1, 2011. From Cook’s Illustrated.

Serves 10 to 12

Instead of drumsticks and thighs, you may use 2 whole leg quarters, 1½ to 2 pounds each. The recipe will also work with turkey breast alone; in step 1, reduce the salt and sugar to ½ cup each and the water to 4 quarts. If you are braising kosher or self-basting turkey parts, skip the brining step and instead season the turkey parts with 1½ teaspoons of salt.


  • Turkey
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 (5- to 7-pound) whole bone-in turkey breast, trimmed
  • 4 pounds turkey drumsticks and thighs, trimmed
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine


1. FOR THE TURKEY: Dissolve 1 cup salt and sugar in 2 gallons cold water in large container. Submerge turkey pieces in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 3 to 6 hours.
2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Remove turkey from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Toss onions, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, porcini, and 2 tablespoons butter in large roasting pan; arrange in even layer. Brush turkey pieces with remaining 2 tablespoons butter and season with pepper. Place turkey pieces, skin side up, over vegetables, leaving at least ¼ inch between pieces. Roast until skin is lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
3. Remove pan from oven and reduce temperature to 325 degrees. Pour broth and wine around turkey pieces (it should come about three-quarters of way up legs and thighs). Place 12 by 16-inch piece of parchment paper over turkey pieces. Cover roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil. Return covered roasting pan to oven and cook until breasts register 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees, 1¾ to 2¼ hours. Transfer turkey to carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.
4. FOR THE GRAVY: Strain vegetables and liquid from roasting pan through fine-mesh strainer set in large bowl. Press solids with back of spatula to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard vegetables. Transfer liquid to fat separator; allow to settle, 5 minutes. Reserve 3 tablespoons fat and measure out 3 cups braising liquid (reserve any remaining broth for another use).
5. Heat reserved fat in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until flour is dark golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Whisk in 3 cups braising liquid and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until gravy is thick and reduced to 2 cups, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove gravy from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Carve turkey and serve, passing gravy separately.

Now, before you worry about how huge the ingredient list is, most of them are ingredients most people already have in the kitchen. The dried porcini mushrooms are something I consider to be optional. They lend a tremendous amount of flavor but if you don’t have them or can’t find them at your store, don’t worry about it. As far as the fresh herbs are concerned, the thyme really is necessary. Fortunately, it’s easy to find at the store. If you don’t want to use wine, just use extra chicken stock or water. So that’s it, follow the recipe and enjoy! 😀



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