And just like that, it’s American Thanksgiving. We Canadians had our Thanksgiving over a month ago, but I still pay attention to our neighbors to the south’s big day. Mostly because I want to involve myself in every giant dinner party I can. But also because I think of American Thanksgiving as the official kickoff to the holiday season. And l love the holidays because they’re like one never-ending dinner party. So to celebrate the arrival of the most wonderful time of the year and the USA’s turkey day, I put together this Braised Turkey with Chorizo.
Now, I would imagine everyone in the US has their Thanksgiving menu sorted at this point. Or at least I hope they do. But I’m going to guess the Christmas feast is still up in the air. It still is for me and I’m a menu-planning professional. Every year, I like to gift the Internet an offbeat take on the traditional holiday meal, that is easily scalable to suit whatever size your table is liable to be on the big day. This Braised Turkey with Chorizo is this year’s contribution.
I love making braising recipes for a dinner party. They are the lowest maintenance and they never fail to impress. I think the most common hosting mistake people make is leaving too much of the food prep work for game day. The nature of the traditional holiday dinner often requires that we neglect our guests in favor of not serving an overdone turkey. And so many of our favorite holiday sides demand oven-time, which can be a logistical nightmare especially when you have a turkey luxuriating in there for most of the day.
This Braised Turkey with Chorizo eliminates that headache. All you have to do is marinate the turkey legs a day ahead before piling everything into a pot or braiser. And, unlike a lot of braising recipes, these turkey legs only require 40 minutes in the oven. And the turkey cooks at a reasonable temperature. So you could bake off a pie before introducing the turkey to the oven.
Another thing I love about this Braised Turkey with Chorizo is its scalability. You essentially add or subtract a turkey leg per person. And while this recipe is holiday-friendly, it also doesn’t scream holiday. You could serve this at any time of year really. I mean, I would keep it to the cooler months. But you could easily convert this into a birthday dinner. Not a bad dinner party recipe to have in your back pocket.
So, that’s pretty much all you need to know about this Braised Turkey with Chorizo. If you’re eager for more guidance, check out the video below. I definitely over-explain the process, so you’re likely to find everything you need in there…and probably a few things you don’t. And if you like the video, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. There’s lots of fun stuff up there.
I hope those of you who are celebrating have a lovely Thanksgiving!
Braised Turkey with Chorizo and Malt Vinegar Polenta
- Braiser or Dutch Oven
- 4 turkey legs **
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
- 1 lemon zest removed in strips
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary divided
- 12-14 black peppercorns
- 1 bottle red wine I used a rioja
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 250g (9oz) cured chorizo cut into medallions
- 1 yellow onion cut into wedges
- 3 ribs celery coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato paste heaping
- 1½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 cup green olives pitted and halved
- 1 lemon juiced
Malt Vinegar Polenta
- 8 cups water
- 250g (9oz) polenta not instant
- 2 tbsp butter divided
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp malt vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh parsley coarsely chopped
- 1 lemon zest removed in ribbons
For the Turkey
- Season the turkey legs on all sides with salt and pepper and place them in a large bowl. Add the garlic, lemon zest, bay leaves, 2 sprigs of the rosemary, and the peppercorns. Cover the turkey with the wine and leave to marinate for a minimum of 8 hours. It’s best to leave the turkey overnight in the fridge.4 turkey legs **, 4 cloves garlic, 1 lemon, 2 bay leaves, 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, 12-14 black peppercorns, 1 bottle red wine
- The next day, preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Retrieve your marinated turkey legs from the fridge and pat them dry. Reserve the marinade. Pour the flour in a wide shallow vessel, I like to use a pie plate for this, toss to coat the turkey legs. Once they are evenly coated, set them aside.¼ cup all-purpose flour
- Place a large Dutch oven or braiser over medium heat. Add the chorizo and saute until the slices begin to curl and there is a good amount of fat in the bottom of the pot. Remove the chorizo from the pan using a slotted spoon.250g (9oz) cured chorizo
- Next, add the turkey legs and brown them on all sides. You don’t have to be too thorough here. We aren’t trying to cook the turkey, we’re just getting a little color on them. Once the turkey legs are browned, transfer them to a plate and set them aside.
- Add the onions to the pot followed by the celery and carrots. Add a generous sprinkling of salt and saute until slightly softened. Add the tomato paste and saute for 30 seconds more. Stir in the smoked paprika and the ground cumin.1 yellow onion, 3 ribs celery, 2 carrots, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1½ tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp ground cumin
- Deglaze the pot with 1/2 a cup of the reserved marinade. Pour in the chicken stock and the honey. Bring the mixture up to a simmer, then add the chorizo back in followed by the olives. Nestle the turkey legs into the braising liquid and turnoff the heat. Add two sprigs of fresh rosemary and cover. Transfer the pot to the oven and let cook for 40 minutes, turning the turkey legs once halfway through.2 cups chicken stock, 2 tbsp honey, 1 cup green olives, 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Take the pot out of the oven. You know the turkey is ready when the meat pulls away from the bones. Finish the dish with the juice of 1 lemon.1 lemon
For the Polenta
- While the turkey is braising, let’s make the Salt and Vinegar Polenta. Bring the water up to a rolling boil. Liberally salt the water and add a tablespoon of the butter. Once the butter has melted, gradually whisk in 250 grams of polenta.8 cups water, 250g (9oz) polenta, 2 tbsp butter
- Continue to whisk the polenta over medium-low heat until it thickens slightly. Exchange your whisk for a wooden spoon and continue to cook the polenta for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Your polenta is done when it no longer tastes raw or feels gritty and it reaches the texture of a thick porridge.
- Add the remaining butter and the malt vinegar. Stir to combine. Taste and season with salt accordingly.¼ cup + 2 tbsp malt vinegar
- Spoon some polenta into a bowl and top with a turkey leg. Pour some of the braising liquid over the turkey leg, taking care to add some chorizo and olive pieces to the bowl. Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon zest. Serve immediately with a nice Rioja.¼ cup fresh parsley, 1 lemon