Cooking a whole turkey is daunting, but this recipe for citrus-braised turkey legs with brothy beans is a breeze. Forget Thanksgiving, you’ll want these braised turkey legs year around.
If you’re hungry for turkey but don’t want to spend hours brining and cooking, turkey legs are an incredible fall-back option. They’re affordable, meaty, and like chicken thighs, they stay moist and hold up to braising perfectly.
In this recipe, turkey thighs and drumsticks you will browned and then transferred to a braising dish. A simple citrusy broth is prepared and poured over the turkey legs before being transferred to the oven for about 1 hour 30 minutes or until the meat is tender and fully cooked through. This citrus-braised turkey leg recipe is a wonderful addition to your recipe rolodex. You can substitute in chicken thighs easily with just adjusting cooking time to about 45 minutes for chicken thighs.
How to Make this Citrus-Braised Turkey Legs:
This recipe is simply wonderful and easy to prepare. First, brown the turkey legs and transfer them to a braising dish. You will need to brown the legs in batches.
To the pan you browned the legs in, add a quartered onion. I also used the “butt” pieces of my oranges and lemons and charred them a bit to add more smoky-sweet flavor to the broth. Finally, add garlic and a minced red Fresno pepper to the onion and cook for just 1 minute until fragrant. Pour in chicken stock and bring to a hard boil. Turn off the heat and carefully pour the broth over the legs in the braising dish.
Cover the braising dish and transfer those delicious turkey legs to the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes or until the turkey is completely cooked through and tender. At this stage, I broil the dish for 2-3 minutes just to crisp up the skin.
Place the braising dish on a burner and carefully transfer the legs to a serving platter and cover loosely with foil. At this stage, you can pick out the orange and lemon slices and discard them, but I kept them in and we ate around them.
Bring the liquid to a boil and add two cans of drained beans and boil for about 10 minutes to allow the liquid to reduce. Add in arugula and cook until just wilted. Turn off the heat and season it to taste. Serve the beans and broth in shallow bowls with a turkey drumstick or thigh on top!
What to Serve with This Dish:
I served this with beans added in at the end, however, you can roast baby potatoes and ladle the broth over the potatoes after cooking and it will still be delicious! You could also serve with roasted broccolini or cauliflower.
Looking for more recipes with beans? Check my archives!
If you made these braised turkey legs, please rate the recipe below and leave a comment to tell me how you liked it! If you take a picture of it, please tag me on Instagram so I can feature you in my feed!
Citrus-Braised Turkey Legs
- Wide pot or skillet
- Braising pot
- 6 turkey thighs, drumsticks, or a mix
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil for frying
- 1 yellow onion peeled and sliced into thin wedges
- 2 satsuma mandarins or navel oranges, sliced into rounds, end pieces reserved
- 1 lemon sliced into rounds, end pieces reserved
- 6 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 red Fresno chili pepper trimmed and minced
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2-15 ounce cans great northern beans drained and rinsed
- 5 ounces arugula or spinach
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil for garnish, optional
Brown the Turkey Legs:
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Pat the turkey dry and season all over with salt and pepper. Heat the neutral oil in a wide pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the turkey, in batches, and cook for 4-5 minutes per side until browned all over. Transfer to a braising dish.
Cook the Broth:
- Add the onion to the pot you browned the turkey in and cook for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften. Add the end pieces of the citrus, flesh-side down, and cook until the citrus chars–about 2-3 minutes more.
- Add the garlic and red Fresno pepper and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Braise the Turkey Legs:
- Carefully pour the broth over the turkey legs in the braising pot. Arrange the orange and lemon slices on top and cover the dish. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until the legs are very tender and cooked through.
- Turn on the broiler and broil the skin for 2-3 minutes until crispy. Remove from the oven.
Finish the Broth:
- Carefully transfer the cooked turkey legs to a serving plater and cover loosely with foil. At this point, you can pick out the citrus slices and discard them or you can keep them in the broth for presentation.
- Place the braising pan on a burner and turn the heat to high. Once the broth is boiling, add the drained and rinsed beans and boil for 5-10 minutes or until the broth reduces slightly. Turn the heat to medium and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the arugula and cook for 3-5 minutes until wilted. Turn off the heat.
- Ladle the beans and broth into shallow bowls and place a turkey leg on top. Garnish with a touch of extra virgin olive oil, if you like. Enjoy!