Deliciously tender yet crispy-skinned oven roasted turkey drumsticks served with a velvety vegetable gravy.
You feel that cooking a whole turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas might be too much for your family? I certainly think so! Turkeys usually come in extra extra large and although I absolutely love turkey, I still think it a bit boring to keep eating it for a whole week…
Of course, there are lots of delicious ways of dealing with turkey leftovers, but even when only cooking turkey thighs, drumsticks or breast, I still find myself with enough leftovers for at least another meal. And some turkey sandwiches on top of that. By the way, keep tuned for some recipes using cooked turkey leftovers.
So, most of the times when cooking turkey I go for smaller parts of it. Either a nicely roasted thigh or breast, turkey cutlets stuffed with cheese and vegetables or something else, only one of these parts are usually large enough to feed my family and secure some leftovers for the next day.
Just like in the case of these Oven Roasted Turkey Drumsticks Recipe with Vegetables, I knew that we (two adults and two children) would not be able to finish four drumsticks at one meal and it was true: those drumsticks proved themselves to be just too much for one family. I suppose that if four adults were eating, we might have been able to finish them, but with the kids, I still had enough leftovers to make these wonderful Yufka or Filo Pastry with Chestnuts, Leftover Turkey and Herbs the next day, this Healthy Turkey or Chicken Buckwheat Soup with Vegetables and quite a few turkey sandwiches.
This is a very basic recipe for cooking turkey, using simple and easy to find ingredients. Not to mention cheap ingredients: you can cook a really festive and delicious Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner without overstretching your budget at all. Turkey legs are very reasonably priced in Germany, even when buying my own organic turkey from the farm in the village, I never think I am paying too much. For some reason buying farm-raised or organic chickens around here is a much more expensive affair.
And the rest of the ingredients? Just ordinary veggies, nothing special, those vegetables that we call soup vegetables in Germany: carrots and celeriac, then one pepper and some potatoes to serve. Well, the potatoes to serve are optional, you could just as well serve the Oven Roasted Turkey Drumsticks with Vegetables with noodles (in my case preferably homemade Spätzle) or dumplings.
This is a Romanian recipe, not exactly something my grandmother would have cooked, but still Romanian. And when I am saying that my grandma would not have cooked this I am only referring to the bird, I don’t think she ever made turkey (at least I don’t remember it), but she would very often cook chicken legs in this kind of sauce and it was always delicious. So, keep in mind that you can definitely cook the dish with plain chicken thighs or drumsticks or better yet the whole legs of the chicken, you will just have to adjust the cooking time accordingly, chicken would need a shorter cooking time.
And talking about the gravy you will make when the turkey drumsticks are cooked: it is a dream! I love this kind of gravies you get when cooking meat and vegetables in the oven, they have no rival, at least not for me. 🙂 And if I happen to have too much of the gravy at times, I always freeze it and try to remember to use it again during the following weeks. I would not keep it in the freezer forever, it does lose its power if kept too long, but have it during the next 2-4 weeks over some meatballs and noodles for instance and you will be happy.
Inner Temperature of Cooked Turkey
And about the inner temperature of a safely cooked turkey, I’ve made a bit of searching quite a while ago, I cook turkey all the time and I was never quite sure when it was the right time to take it out of the oven. So the FSIS – Food Safety and Inspection Service in the USA states that 73 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit are enough to guarantee a safely cooked turkey with no risk of you getting a salmonella infection. Read here for more information on safely dealing with turkey.
I bought myself a meat thermometer, which I insert in the thickest part of the meat to see if the inner temperature has been reached. I keep to the recommended temperature of 73 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit when it comes to turkey breast which otherwise would turn out too dry. However, when cooking thighs or drumsticks I prefer to leave them until they reach 82 degrees Celsius/ 180 degrees Fahrenheit, like recommended in some older recipes, I feel safer that way and the legs still turn out really nice and juicy, dark meat is definitely more forgiving than the breast meat.
More delicious Turkey Recipes:
- 4 turkey drumsticks, mine were rather large
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 250 ml/ 1 cup chicken stock + more if necessary
- 1 onion
- 3 medium carrots
- 1 large piece of celeriac, about 200 g/ 7 oz
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- sweet paprika powder
- salt and pepper
- some parsley
Wash and dry the turkey legs. Sprinkle them generously with salt, pepper and sweet paprika powder all over.
Heat the oil in a large cast iron pan or another large oven proof dish. Brown the turkey drumsticks on all sides. Add 250 ml/ 1 cup chicken stock, cover the pan and let cook gently for 15 minutes.
In the meantime preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Clean and chop the vegetables. Together with the tomato paste add the vegetables to the pot.
Place the pot in the oven and roast for 60 to 80 minutes or until the turkey drumsticks are cooked through. Add a bit more chicken stock if necessary, if things threaten to get too dry and stick to the pan.
Baste the drumsticks with the cooking liquid from time to time and turn them on the other side after about 30 minutes cooking time.
Start checking after 60 minutes, stick a toothpick in the thickest part of the drumstick, the juices should run clear. If they are still reddish continue the cooking process checking every 5 minutes or so. If you are comfortable with using a meat thermometer, the inner temperature of the meat should be of 82 degrees Celsius/ 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Read above for more information on the inner temperature of cooked turkey.
When the drumsticks are done, carefully transfer them to a large platter and let rest for about 15 minutes.
To make the sauce remove about 1/3 of the vegetables from the pan and set aside. give the rest of the pan contents to a saucepan. Puree until the sauce is very smooth and adjust the taste with salt and pepper, if necessary. Keeping some of the veggies to serve on the side is optional, you can puree all of them for the sauce, especially if you are making an extra vegetable side dish.
Serve the turkey drumsticks with the remaining vegetables, sauce, boiled or mashed potatoes, noodles or dumplings and salad or any kind of vegetable side dish.
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