Cider-Braised Turkey with Butter Roasted Breasts

November 03, 2018

Recipe by Local Roots Recipe Contributor Susan Streit Sherman, @cratecooking.

Serves 8


12 pound turkey, cut into 8 pieces (2 boneless breast halves, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 whole wings), back, neck, wing tips and giblets reserved for Simple Turkey Stock
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme, sage or rosemary
3 cups fresh apple cider
2 cups Simple Turkey Stock, or low-sodium turkey broth
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 

1. Pat turkey pieces dry with paper towels and season very generously with salt and pepper. Place pieces in a dish, cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days in advance.
2. Preheat oven to 300 F and adjust a rack to the middle row. 
3. Remove dark meat (2 thighs, 2 drumsticks and 2 wings) from refrigerator, saving the breasts for later. Heat olive oil in a large, 12-inch wide Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.  Add dark meat, skin side-down, cooking in batches to avoid overcrowding in the pot. Sear turkey until skin is dark golden in color and has released from the pot (it may stick at first), about 4 to 7 minutes per side, turning down heat if bottom of pot scorches. Remove turkey pieces from pot and set aside on a plate. Repeat with remaining pieces.
4. Add the onion to the pot and season with a large pinch of salt. Sauté onion, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan, until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the herbs and cider and turn the heat up to high. Let the cider bubble until it has reduced by half and slightly thickens, about 10 minutes.  Add Simple Turkey Stock or broth and return to a boil. Add the seared turkey pieces to pot, skin side up, along with any liquid that's accumulated on the plate. Turkey will be snug in the pot.
5. Place pot in oven and cook, uncovered, until turkey is very tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove turkey from pot, transfer to a cutting board and tent with aluminum foil. Strain the cider braising liquid into a small saucepan and discard solids. Let the cider liquid simmer over medium heat until it has reduced, slightly thickens and resembles a runny caramel. 
6. Preheat oven to 375 F and adjust a rack to the top row.
7. Remove breasts from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting. Place breasts skin-side up on a rimmed baking or half sheet pan. Spread enough softened butter over breasts to cover the skin. Roast breasts in oven until internal temperature reads 150 F with an instant read thermometer, about 40 to 50 minutes. Allow breasts to rest on a cutting board for 30 minutes before slicing.
8. To serve, remove bones from the thigh pieces. Cut thigh meat into large chunks and slice the breasts (not too thin!). Arrange wings and drumsticks on platter with the thigh meat and sliced breasts. Serve with warm cider jus.

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