Monday, November 22, 2021

Turkey Legs - Confit Style


Today, I bring the dark meat turkey lovers out there a real treat!  Confit Turkey Legs!  My husband and I first enjoyed these at our daughter and SIL's home last Thanksgiving.  This past weekend we had an early Thanksgiving feast with some of our family and I decided to try making these myself.  

If you've ever tried making or eaten confit duck legs, you know how the cooking process makes the meat so tender.  The combination of dried chilis, garlic and oregano in this recipe are reminiscent of slow braised pork shoulder and almost as tender!  

The turkey legs can easily be braised one to four days ahead and either sliced and reheated or reheated whole in a low oven and then browned in a skillet until crisp.  I made these a day ahead and simply sliced and reheated the meat along with the whole turkey that I prepared fresh that morning.   I also chose not to use the optional almond sauce that is included in the recipe.  


I'm sorry I didn't get any 'after' photos, but, I will share how tender and delicious they are!  My husband raved about them.  For him, this was the best part of the meal.    

So, if you have dark-meat lovers in your family, please give this recipe a try.  

Happy Thanksgiving!   

Turkey Legs - Confit Style

4 - 6 Servings

Braising Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
2 tsp. cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp. plus ¼ tsp. kosher salt
2 whole turkey legs (4–5 lb. total)
6 garlic cloves, smashed, plus 2 heads of garlic, divided
8 dried guajillo, ancho, or New Mexico chiles, stems and seeds removed
4 sprigs oregano or 1 tsp. dried oregano
3–4 cups (or more) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. (or more) crushed red pepper flakes

Ingredients for Sauce:  

½ cup unsalted roasted almonds or peanuts
¼ cup toasted sesame seeds

Combine first three ingredients in a small bowl. Place turkey legs in a baking dish just big enough to fit them or a medium Dutch oven. Sprinkle all over with the brown sugar mixture and scatter smashed garlic cloves over them. Let sit at room temperature at least 2 hours, or chill up to 12 hours (the longer the better).

Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 275°F. Cut heads of garlic heads in half crosswise. Place the garlic halves, chiles and oregano sprigs around the turkey legs. Pour in oil until turkey is mostly if not completely submerged.  Push down chiles beneath oil as they can burn if above the surface. You may need a bit more oil depending on your pot and size of turkey legs.  The garlic and chili infused oil can be used in all kinds so don't through it away after braising!

Braise turkey, uncovered, until meat has shrunk away from drumsticks dramatically and meat shreds easily with firm pressure, 3–4 hours.  Keep the temperature at a lazy simmer and reduce heat if it starts to bubbled too vigorously. Let meat rest, still submerged in fat, at least 1 hour.

If making sauce, pick out chiles from braising oil with tongs and place in a blender; add red pepper flakes and 1 cup braising oil. Let cool slightly, then blend until chiles are coarsely chopped. Add almonds and pulse until largest pieces are no bigger than a red pepper flake. Add sesame seeds and pulse just to combine. Season with remaining ¼ tsp. salt and add more red pepper flakes if desired.  Otherwise, strain the oil and reserve, refrigerated, for browning potatoes, frying eggs or your next confit project.  

If eating right away, heat 2 Tbsp. braising oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Cook turkey legs, carefully turning with 2 pairs of tongs, until brown and crisp all over, 8–10 minutes (I eliminated this step). Serve with the almond-chile sauce, if desired. 

Turkey legs can be braised up to 4 days ahead. 

2 Thumbs Up! 

Adapted from Epicurious.  Visit the site to read reviews and other suggestions.