Braised Turkey Thighs
You'll Never Look Back!
You may have heard, but Thanksgiving is next week (!) and as I'm sure you know by now, I'm not much of a "hot take" person. There are a few exceptions and this is one. I will never roast a whole turkey again for Thanksgiving and in my opinion nor should you.
Instead, I take my favorite part of any bird, thighs of course, and braise them until they are falling off the bone. Not only is the recipe essentially foolproof (it's impossible to dry them out), but you can also do it a day or two before and it will only add to their depth of flavor and you can spend the day stressing about sides instead!
Braised turkey thighs also are MVP for team leftovers. Think of it as pulled pork's very best friend. Tucked into a griddled seeded potato roll with some pickled red onions, mayonnaise and spicy greens a very fine sandwich this does make. I will also say they make the very best enchiladas verde.
The inimitable Susan Spungen also make a great case for braising turkey thighs Osso Buco style, so perhaps if one more person chimes in, we'll have our trend this year.
In my humble opinion, if you're roasting a whole bird, you're doing it wrong. Without further ado, please watch the video and see for yourself. The recipe is also below and I hope you make them.
I’m taking next week off of regular posts to be with my friend-family and to eat turkey thighs, obviously.
Paid subscribers, don’t you worry, I’ve got you covered.
Have a beautiful holiday!
P.S. I'm not making dessert this year. I'll be eating one of these incredible looking Fruits and Flowers ice cream pies, created by Malai. The pie has a blended date, raisin, walnut, and orange zest filling and is topped with rose ice cream and a tea biscuit crust. There is a chance I may make a lemon tart, but probably not.
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Braised Turkey Thighs with Garlic and Herbs
4 large turkey thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek, thinly sliced into rings
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
1 to 2 sprigs of rosemary
2 to 3 sage leaves
1 bay leaf
4 to 5 cups water
4 to 5 teaspoons Better than Bouillon, Roasted Chicken flavor
Season the thighs well with salt and pepper (1 teaspoon salt per pound) and set on a wire rack uncovered overnight. Remove the thighs about an hour before you begin cooking to allow them to reach room temperature.
Heat oven to 300℉. In a large Dutch oven, heat the canola oil over medium high heat, add the first turkey thigh skin-side down and cook mostly undisturbed until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip and cook the other side for 2 minutes more and transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining thighs.
Place a roasting pan over two burgers and turn the heat to medium. Add the olive oil and when it shimmers add in the leek, the celery, and the garlic cut-side down cook until they begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the herbs, the bay leaf and add the turkey thighs back into the pan skin-side up, along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Pour in enough water so that the thighs are halfway submerged in liquid. It should be about 4 to 5 cups of liquid. Bring to a simmer and stir in the Better than Bouillon (1 teaspoon per cup of water). Once dissolved, turn off the heat.
Cover the roasting pan with foil and transfer to the oven. Cook until the meat is falling off the bone, 2 ½ to 3 hours.
When ready to serve, transfer the thighs to a cutting board or platter. Strain the aromatics and return the broth to the roasting pan. Add the thighs back into the juice and shred directly in the pan. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt as needed.
Last year I served the turkey straight from the roasting pan. If you want to transfer them to an elegant platter, feel free.