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Lovers of dark meat know that the leg is often the most flavorful part of the bird. This preparation isolates this much-loved cut in a recipe for a perfectly cooked bird with a crackling bronze skin. The process can be started several days in advance, needing only a quick blast in a hot oven to crisp the skin before serving.

November 2018


Credit: Victor Protasio

Recipe Summary

1 hr
2 hrs 30 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Butterfly the Leg
  • Lace one turkey leg, skin side down, on a cutting board. Using a sharp, thin knife, cut along the white membrane that runs lengthwise down the thigh and leg until the blade hits bone. Continue cutting along and around the thigh and drumstick bones until the bones are fully exposed. Slip knife under thigh bone and separate from meat. Repeat with drumstick bone. Taking care not to pierce the meat and skin around the joint, use the tip of knife to trace around joint until it is free. Remove bone; reserve for another use. Repeat procedure with remaining leg.

Spread the Stuffing
  • Place one leg, skin side down, with a short end closest to you. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Spread half of leeks in an even layer over meat, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Repeat procedure with remaining leg, salt, pepper, and leeks.

Roll it Up
  • Working with one leg at a time, roll turkey leg by tucking the skin side into the stuffing to form a long cylinder. Arrange, seam side down, on work surface. Repeat procedure with remaining leg. 

Tie the Twine
  • Secure legs with butcher’s twine at 1-inch intervals, tying tightly to secure. Stuffed turkey legs may be wrapped in plastic wrap and chilled in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Poach and Rest
  • Bring broth and wine to a simmer in a large Dutch oven, and season lightly with salt. Carefully place legs in broth. Add more broth if necessary to cover. Reduce heat to low to maintain a very gentle simmer. Cover and cook until a thermometer inserted in legs registers 165°F, about 1 hour. Carefully transfer legs to a large rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Let meat rest for 15 minutes. Strain cooking liquid; discard solids. Reserve strained cooking liquid for gravy. If serving turkey later, let cool to room temperature, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate up to 2 days.

Roast and Carve
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Roast turkey until skin is crisp, about 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Slice into 1/2-inch rounds.