A slow-cooked turkey leg with tender meat and crispy skin, I can't think of a tastier and easier turkey leg recipe.
This is our favorite way of cooking turkey legs: slow-roasted in the oven until the meat falls off the bone and the skin is crispy. A vegetable sauce made with the vegetables cooked together with the turkey and some oven potato wedges or rosemary mashed potatoes.
This a beautiful and delicious turkey leg recipe suitable for a feast. Yet so easy to make, you could make it on a regular basis. What better recipe for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner than something delicious that involves so little trouble?
Preparing the turkey leg for roasting takes less than 15 minutes. OK, it needs quite a while in the oven, but there is nothing you have to do during this time except take care of the other dishes you want to serve.
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Turkey Leg Recipe
Many other recipes use the breast of the turkey, something as this Dutch Oven Turkey Breast or Turkey Roulades, recipes for Baked Turkey Wings, or recipes using the neck, for instance, turkey stock or bone broth for soups, and many more.
How to slow-cooked turkey in the oven?
I like cooking meat in the oven at a low temperature. The danger of overcooking the meat when slow cooking is low, and the work involved is minimal; you just need to know exactly when you want to eat and take care to put the meat in the oven soon enough.
That makes this dish such a great fit for Christmas dinner or lunch. Not much hassle, the preparations are done in less than 15 minutes, and 3 ½ – 4 hours later, you have a delicious meal on the table.
The only thing that will drive you crazy is the smell that will start filling the house about one hour after you shove your bird in the oven...
In case you are wondering why my turkey leg looks a bit weird at the joint, the problem was that it was a giant leg, too large to fit into the dish, and I just didn't manage to divide the leg at the joint. So I just cut the meat around the joint, and then I was able to push the two parts together and get them in the dish. 🙂
- Prepare the meat: Clean and dry it. Cut it around the joint, if necessary, just to be able to push it a little and fit it in the cooking dish. If your Dutch oven (or similar pot) is large enough, you don't have to do that.
- Season: Rub with the mustard and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the Dutch oven or cast iron oven dish.
- Assemble the dish: Place the vegetables and bay leaves in the pot. Pour the stock around, taking care not to wash away the mustard.
- Slow-cook in the oven: Place the dish in the cold oven and turn the temperature to 150 degrees Celsius/ 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook for 3 ½ to 4 hours until the skin is crisp and the meat very, very tender.
- Check from time to time to make sure that the skin doesn't get too dark. If that starts to happen, place a piece of aluminum foil very loosely on top of the pot; just place it on top without pressing it or trying to close the pot.
- Rest the leg: Remove the turkey leg from the pot and place it on a warmed plate; cover it loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest while you make the sauce.
Make the sauce
- To make the sauce, I use “soup vegetables”; that is what they are often called in Germany. That means onions, carrots, parsley root, or celeriac.
- The parsley root or celeriac can be replaced with a couple of celery sticks, but I find celeriac much better for this purpose; it adds not only a celery taste but, unlike celery sticks, it contributes to making the sauce creamier.
- You will also need garlic, red bell pepper, bay leaves, and some good quality chicken stock; I always use my homemade chicken stock.
- After removing the meat from the dish, puree the vegetables with an immersion blender. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper, if necessary.
No. According to USDA, washing poultry will only spread the bacteria in your sink and working surfaces. Only heat will destroy the bacteria anyway.
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Freeze in a freezer container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator and reheat before serving.
Reheat the meat in the oven or microwave and the sauce in the microwave or on the stovetop.
You can also refrigerate or freeze the leftover meat separated from the sauce. You can use these leftovers for making Turkey Pot Pie with Puff Pastry.
Not really. Slow-cooking turkey legs is a straightforward, forgiving method; there is not much that can go wrong. Make sure you check that the meat is cooked before serving; undercooked poultry meat is not an option.
How to serve?
I always serve the roasted turkey leg recipe with oven-roasted potatoes.
When it comes to vegetable side dishes, I change that according to what I have or what I crave. How about some roasted Brussels sprouts or fried cabbage? You could also roast some carrots or cook green beans.
More turkey recipes
Oven Slow-Cooked Turkey Leg
- 1 large whole turkey leg of about 1.7 kg/ 3.7 lbs
- 2 heaped tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 medium onions
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 medium parsley root or 1 piece of celeriac about the same amount as the carrot
- 1 small red bell pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ cup chicken stock 125 ml
- fine sea salt and pepper
- Season: Pat dry the turkey leg. Cut it around the joint, if necessary. If your Dutch oven (or similar pot) is large enough, you don't have to do that. Rub the leg with the mustard and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the turkey in the Dutch oven or cast iron oven dish.
- Assemble the dish: Quarter the onions and chop all the vegetables into large pieces. Peel but leave the garlic cloves whole. Place them and the bay leaves in the pot around the turkey leg. Pour in the chicken stock, taking care not to wash away the mustard. Just pour around the leg.
- Roast: Place the pot in the cold oven, turn the temperature to 150 degrees Celsius/ 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook for 3 ½ to 4 hours until the skin is crisp and the meat very tender.
- Check from time to time to ensure that the skin doesn't get too dark. If that starts to happen, place a piece of aluminum foil very loosely on top of the pot, just place it on top without pressing it or trying to close the pot.
- Rest: Remove the turkey leg from the pot and place it on a warmed plate, cover it loosely with aluminum foil and let rest while you make the sauce.
- Gravy: Puree the vegetables in the pot, adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately with potatoes and vegetables.