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A Denver Guide to Thanksgiving: Braised Turkey Leg Recipe by Chef Gabe Godell of The Kitchen Denver

Today we introduce A Denver Guide to Thanksgiving, featuring recipes and advice from local experts. We start off with a two-part series from Gabe Godell, chef de cuisine of The Kitchen Denver. Check back on Thursday for a delicious seasonal side in Part Two. Chef Godell offers a new take on traditional Thanksgiving turkey. This one-pot dish is a play on coq au vin. Slowly braising the turkey in red wine and stock brings out the flavor of the dark meat. The addition of pearl onions, roasted mushrooms, and bacon creates a savory star for your holiday table. Chef Godell claims the dish is perfect for a Thanksgiving bird: “With turkey, the dark meat is super tasty if it’s braised.”

Braised Turkey Leg

  • 2 turkey thighs
  • 2 turkey drumsticks
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 8 oz slab bacon
  • 8 oz oyster mushrooms
  • 8 oz shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 2 carrots, cut into large dice
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into large dice
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 10 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 quarts turkey stock
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Heavily season turkey with black pepper and kosher salt. Coat turkey with flour and set aside. Cut bacon into lardons and brown with butter in a large braising pot or Dutch oven. Once some of the fat has rendered out, add in the mushrooms and pearl onions, season with salt and sauté for 2 minutes. Remove the bacon, onion, and mushroom mixture, and set aside to add to the finished sauce. Add ¼ cup canola oil to pot and start browning the turkey on both sides, working in batches if needed. Once turkey is browned, remove from pot and set aside. In the same pot, brown carrots, onions, and celery for 3 minutes. Add in tomato paste and smashed garlic, continue to sauté for another minute. Deglaze pot with red wine and allow to reduce to almost dry. Add browned turkey back to pot along with the turkey stock. Bring to a simmer, cover, and bake in a 250 degree oven for 1 hour. Check turkey after an hour. It should be coming off the bone. Once turkey is done, allow to cool at room temperature for 20 minutes. Pull turkey out of pot and strain braising liquid into a saucepan. Reduce by 1/3 or to a consistency that you like, keeping in mind that salt will concentrate as sauce reduces. Add turkey back to sauce along with pearl onion, mushroom, and bacon mixture. Bring back up to a simmer to reheat turkey. Serve in a large bowl with sauce.

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