Turkey Leg Roulade


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 leek-stuffed turkey roulade with 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.

Turkey Leg Roulade
Photo: Victor Protasio
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
6 servings


Melted Leeks with Currants and Sage

  • 1/2 cup currants

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 4 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only

  • 2 cups thinly sliced kale or collard greens

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Turkey Roulade

  • 2 (2-pound) turkey leg quarters, patted dry

  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more for seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 3 cups Melted Leeks

  • 2 quarts turkey broth or chicken stock

  • 1 cup dry white wine


Make the Melted Leeks

  1. Place the currants and wine in a small bowl and set aside.

  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Using a silicone spatula, fold in the leeks until coated. Cook, stirring often, until the leeks are wilted to half their original volume, about 5 minutes. Fold in the kale and celery, and season with salt to taste. Continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

  3. Stir in the thyme, rosemary, sage, and currant and wine mixture. Increase the heat to high, and cook until all the liquid is evaporated about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon zest, and let cool before using.

Butterfly the Leg

  1. Lay 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.

  2. Slip the knife under the thigh bone and separate it from the meat. Repeat with the drumstick bone. Taking care not to pierce the meat and skin around the joint, use the tip of the knife to trace around the joint until it is free. Remove the bone; reserve it for another use. Repeat the procedure with the remaining leg.

Spread the Stuffing

  1. 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 the leeks in an even layer over the meat, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Repeat the procedure with the remaining leg, salt, pepper, and leeks.

Roll it Up

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

Tie the Legs

  1. Secure the 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

  1. Bring the broth and wine to a simmer in a large Dutch oven, and season lightly with salt. Carefully place the legs in the broth. Add more broth if necessary to cover. Reduce the heat to low to maintain a very gentle simmer. Cover and cook until a thermometer inserted in the legs registers 165°F, about 1 hour.

  2. Carefully transfer the legs to a large rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Let the meat rest for 15 minutes. Strain the cooking liquid; discard the solids. Reserve the strained cooking liquid for gravy.

Roast and Carve

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

Make Ahead

If serving the turkey later, let it cool to room temperature, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Related Articles