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Oven Braised Turkey Legs


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2 skin-on, bone-in turkey drumsticks 

2 skin-on, boneless turkey thighs 

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 lb. (4 slices) Lepp’s bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 leeks, white and light green parts, thinly sliced

2 medium celery stalks, coarsely chopped

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons Lepp’s Turkey Rub 

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup dry white wine

6 sprigs fresh thyme

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh sage leaves

2 cups Lepp’s turkey or chicken stock

2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar


Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F.

Pat the turkey pieces completely dry with paper towels. Generously season the meat all over with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Add the turkey skin-side down without crowding the pot and working in batches if necessary. Sear each side until deeply browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; set aside.

Lower the heat to medium and add bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally until the fat is rendered and the meat is well-browned. Stir in the leeks, onion, carrots and celery, and cook until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, Lepp’s Turkey Rub and cook for a minute more.

Add the wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Cook until the wine is reduced by about half. Add the thyme, sage and stock to the pot, then bring to a boil. Place the turkey pieces skin-side up on top of the vegetables.

Place in oven and bake uncovered for 1 hour. Remove the turkey pieces to a plate and stir in the sweet potatoes.  Replace the turkey pieces on top of the vegetables, keeping the turkey skin exposed. If you feel the turkey is getting too brown, rest a piece of tin foil on top of the pan, without sealing it tight.  Return the pot to the oven and bake until the meat is cooked through and registers an internal temperature of 165°F, about 1 hour more.

Remove the meat from the pan and stir in the apple cider vinegar. Discard the woody stems from the thyme.  At this point, the meat should fall off the bone, pull it apart into large pieces and return to the pan. 


Vegetables can be changed to your preference.  Don’t have leeks available?  Use 2 small onions instead.  Don’t like sweet potatoes or you’d rather serve mashed potatoes and prefer to have a lot of sauce?  Leave them out, as they do tend to soak up quite a bit of the delicious gravy.  If you don’t have Lepp’s Turkey Rub available, substitute 1 tablespoon sweet paprika and a pinch of cayenne pepper. or use your favourite poultry seasoning. 

This easy recipe turns a holiday meal into an everyday comfort food braise to enjoy all winter, without having to wrestle with a big turkey carcass. It’s perfect for dark-meat lovers or a small Thanksgiving dinner. With just a few minutes of chopping and browning, the oven does the rest of the work, melting the meat into tender chunks while creating a delicious gravy. 


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