This braised turkey in white wine sauce is a really tender and flavorful slow cooked meal that's almost effortless to make.
Turkey isn't only for Thanksgiving!
Braised turkey in white wine sauce is a great way to enjoy hearty and flavorful turkey in a unique way.
When you make this dish with whole turkey drumsticks you end up with super tender fall-off-the-bone turkey meat. Forget the breast - dark meat is where it's at!
The best part is that it's a really easy meal to throw together that involves very little prep. Pro tip: you can also make this a one pot meal by throwing some cubed potatoes to the braise!
Besides the turkey and white wine, the other ingredients in this dish are quite simple, whole food ingredients that come together to complement the qualities of the turkey meat.
I used one jumbo turkey drumstick for this recipe. It weighed about 900 grams / 1 lb. You can substitute a few smaller turkey drumsticks instead or even use chicken drumsticks. If you use smaller drumsticks (whether turkey or chicken) then reduce the braise time to one hour and check if the meat is fork tender.
Dry white wine
The white wine provides the overall flavor base for the dish. A mellow dry white wine is a good option. If you don't cook with wine, you can substitute chicken stock or more water plus an extra low or no-sodium bouillon cube.
Mirepoix: onion, celery and carrot
You don't have to be too fussy about the quantities. Since these vegetables (onions and carrots in particular) can come in very different sizes, a good reference is to just aim for about 2.5 cups of mirepoix (¾ cup each of celery and onion and one cup of finely diced carrots).
The oil is used to sear the turkey leg and brown the aromatics which introduces some caramelization and more complex flavor notes.
Regular white wheat flour is used in this recipe. The flour mixes with the liquid in the pot to thicken up the sauce. To make it gluten free you can substitute another thickener of your choice (like cornstarch or arrowroot) but you might want to whisk up a slurry by mixing it with a few teaspoons of liquid (this makes it less likely to have clumps) before adding the slurry to the pot.
Seasoning, herbs and aromatics
The low sodium bouillon contributes a lot to the flavor development in the dish. I actually used a zero sodium bouillon for this but if your bouillon has any salt content then do adjust the salt accordingly. Likewise you can substitute chicken stock for the bouillon dissolved in water, just be sure to adjust the salt.
The flavor development from the bouillon is then rounded out with salt, black pepper and garlic. The bay leaves and thyme bring some deep herbaceous notes that increase the complexity.
I recommend a heavy-bottomed pot with a lid that can go from stovetop to oven since you'll need to sear on the stovetop and then slow cook in the oven. I'd recommend cast iron in particular, like a Dutch oven or similar cast iron casserole with a lid.
I used my Le Creuset braiser which is pictured. The braiser pictured is 3.3 liter / 3.5 quart which is a good size for this recipe.
If you don't have a pot that can go from stovetop to oven then feel free to modify the recipe by searing the turkey on the stovetop in a skillet, deglaze with the white wine and then sauté the mirepoix and garlic per the recipe card indications.
Once that step is done you can just put all the ingredients in your oven pot and continue the recipe as usual.
It really couldn't be simpler. All you have to do is lightly brown the turkey, remove it from the pot, then lightly brown the mirepoix and garlic.
To thicken up the gravy that develops from the braising liquid, you'll sprinkle in a bit of regular white wheat flour. If you want to substitute a different thickener like cornstarch or arrowroot then I recommend making a slurry with a few teaspoons of liquid so you avoid introducing any clumps.
If using flour then you can just sprinkle it in and mix well.
Pour in all the white wine to deglaze then add the water (with the dissolved bouillon cube), the rest of the seasoning and the herbs.
Cover and braise in a preheated oven for 1.5 hours (or just one hour if your drumsticks are substantially smaller).
I served this braised turkey in white wine sauce with mashed potatoes and Roasted Red Kuri Squash with Pecans, Honey & Thyme.
The beautiful rich gravy that develops from the slow braise is absolutely amazing on fluffy mashed potatoes but you could also opt for a different carb element like Saffron Risotto (Risotto alla Milanese) or Creamy Parmesan Polenta with Roasted Garlic.
Looking for more effortlessly elegant meals? Maybe you'll like one of these:
Braised Turkey in White Wine Sauce
- Heavy-bottomed pot that can go from stovetop to oven Dutch oven or similar is a good option
- 900 grams turkey leg about 2 lbs
- 500 ml white wine about 2 cups
- 250 ml water about 1 cup
- 1 cup yellow onions finely diced
- 4 ribs celery finely diced
- 3 carrots finely diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cloves garlic finely diced, minced, mashed or sliced
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme or substitute 1 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 bouillon cube low-sodium
- 1 teaspoon flour
- 3 tablespoons oil vegetable or olive oil
- Preheat oven to 165 C / 330 F.
- Finely dice the vegetables and aromatics.
- Dissolve the buillon cube in the water.
- Pat the turkey leg dry with a paper towel or kitchen cloth. Rub it all over with one teaspoon of the salt.
- Heat the oil on medium-high and sear the turkey leg until lightly golden brown (4-5 minutes per side).
- Remove the turkey leg to a plate and set aside for now.
- Add the mirepoix (onion, celery and carrot) and garlic to the pan. Sauté until lightly browned (4-5 minutes).
- Sprinkle the flour evenly on the mirepoix and mix to coat everything well.
- Pour in the white wine, water (with dissolved buillon), herbs and seasoning. Mix to combine well.
- Put the turkey back in the pan then cover and roast in oven for 1.5 hours. The turkey should be golden and fork tender.
- Taste and adjust salt to your liking.