Braised Turkey Legs with Fennel and Artichoke Hearts

turkey legs 2When whole turkeys start showing up in grocery stores, so do turkey drumsticks. These are not dainty drumsticks. They are caveman style eating, drumsticks that weigh in around a full pound each. Roasted and carved, and served with sides, one drumstick can make a meal for two people. If you’re someone who loves dark turkey meat, or if turkey one day a year just isn’t enough, then braised turkey drumsticks are a meal you’ll love.

Turkey drumsticks can be cooked alongside a whole turkey, for more dark meat, or cooked in place of a whole turkey. (If you can find turkey thighs, they can be cooked using this same method.) The drumsticks braise uncovered (so the skin isn’t soggy) and there’s little risk of the meat drying out, like turkey breast often does.

All in all, you’re getting the best, most flavorful part of the bird for less money with less cooking stress involved. Sounds the perfect holiday meal, doesn’t it?

Servings: 4

Time in the Kitchen: 35 minutes hands-on, plus 2 hours to cook turkey



  • 2 to 3 large bone-in, skin-on turkey drumsticks
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (30 ml)
  • .25 ounces pancetta or bacon (7 g)
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 6 carrots, halved lengthwise
  • 9 to 12 ounces artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half (255 to 340 g)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 6 parsley sprigs
  • 4 cups chicken or turkey stock (950 ml)


Preheat the oven to 325 °F/163 °C.

Season drumsticks liberally with salt and pepper.

Pour the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the drumsticks and brown all over, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer drumsticks to a roasting pan that is slightly smaller than what you’d use for a whole turkey.

Add the bacon or pancetta to the skillet and cook until just barely crisp. Transfer to the roasting pan.

Add celery, onion, fennel and carrots to the skillet and cook until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown, 10 minutes. Season with salt. Add stock to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Pour the stock and vegetables into the roasting pan.

Add artichoke hearts, bay leaf, thyme and parsley to the roasting pan.

braising pan

Roast about 2 hours, uncovered, until the skin is browned and the meat tender, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165 °F/71 °C. Stir the vegetables occasionally to prevent burning. If the pan begins to look dry, add a little more stock.

Remove the drumsticks. Use a slotted spoon or strainer to separate the liquid from the vegetables. Arrange the vegetables around the drumstick. Bring the liquid to a simmer on the stove to reduce slightly, and pour over the drumsticks before serving.

turkey legs1

About the Author

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!