Pilsner-Braised Turkey

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  • Difficulty 4
  • Prep Time 1 hr
  • Cook Time 2 hr 30 min
  • Serves 4 - 6
  • Difficulty 4
  • Prep Time 1 hr
  • Cook Time 2 hr 30 min
  • Serves 4 - 6
Juicy and tender, these turkey pieces are simpler to cook than a whole bird. Braising the breasts and legs in the same pot — but for different lengths of time — brings out the best in each cut and ensures they stay moist and delicious. The optional gravy is a little more work, but it’s worth it for your Thanksgiving feast.


  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil (approx)
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
  • 2 turkey thighs (about 900 g total)
  • 1 turkey breast (1.8 to 2.25 kg)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, halved vertically and thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 large sprig rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) pilsner
  • 3 cups (750 mL) chicken broth (approx)
  • 900 g baby potatoes, cut in 1-inch cubes

Gravy (optional)

  • 3 cups (750 mL) cooking juices from braised turkey
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil and butter in a very large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. 2. Season turkey thighs and breast with salt and pepper. Sear in 2 batches in pot, skin-side down, until skin is golden and crispy, 4 to 5 minutes; flip and sear on opposite side until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Set turkey thighs aside on a plate and keep warm. Transfer turkey breast to a plate and let cool slightly; cover and set aside in refrigerator.
  3. 3. If pot is too dry, add up to 1 tbsp (15 mL) more olive oil. Heat over medium heat and add garlic, celery, leeks and onion to pot. Season with a large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add thyme, rosemary and bay leaf; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. 4. Pour in pilsner and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any browned bits on bottom of pot. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until very little liquid remains, about 8 minutes.
  5. 5. Return turkey thighs and any accumulated juices to pot. Pour in enough broth to come about halfway up sides of thighs. Bring to a boil, cover and transfer to preheated oven. Cook for 1 1/2 hours.
  6. 6. Remove pot from oven and add reserved turkey breast. Tuck potatoes into liquid in pot. If liquid doesn’t come halfway up sides of breast, top with more of the remaining broth. Cover, return to oven and cook until potatoes are tender and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest parts of turkey reads 165°F, 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours. Season with more salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
  7. 7. If not making the optional gravy, transfer turkey to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving and serving with potatoes. If making gravy, transfer turkey and potatoes to a heatproof platter, cover and keep warm.
  8. 8. Gravy (if using): Remove and discard bay leaf, rosemary and thyme from cooking juices in pot. Pour enough of the cooking juices into a large glass measuring cup to make 3 cups (750 mL). Let cool to room temperature.
  9. 9. Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until nutty smelling and lightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in reserved cooking juices until smooth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with turkey and potatoes.


  • You don’t have to strain the cooking juices before measuring them, but you can if you prefer a smoother gravy.
  • This recipe makes a generous amount of gravy, but if you have more cooking juices left over once the turkey’s done, you can make an even larger batch. For 4 cups (1 L) of cooking juices, simply increase all-purpose flour to 5 tbsp (75 mL). Freeze any leftover gravy to enjoy later; it’s great in pot pies and on homemade poutine.

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