How To Cook Turkey Legs and Homemade Stuffing
I like to buy a Turkey for the Christmas Dinner
I do not cook it all together though.
I prefer to separate the legs from the turkey breast and bone and stuff them.
How to Bone, Stuff and Roll Turkey Legs
This is a safer way to cook turkey because the parts between the legs and the breast are always the hardest to cook right through if still attached to the main body.
But I do it mainly so that I can enjoy the browner meat of the turkey leg without the inconvenience of the bones.
I can also add my own Homemade stuffing
In this recipe article I explain in detail how to remove the legs from the main body of the turkey and take out the remaining bones from the legs.
I show you how to make my own homemade stuffing and place it into the leg flesh.
There are step by step instructions with lots of photos of the process.
- 1 large Fresh Turkey, Free Range if possible
- 2 packets of Breadcrumbs
- 4 Large Onions
- 1 ½ pounds of Butter
- Large amount of Fresh Parsley, or dried if fresh is unavailable
- Packet of Dried Mixed Herbs
- Box of Aluminium Tin Foil
- Box of Bisto Gravy Powder
- Pre heat the oven to 325 f
- Remove any unnecessary objects from the kitchen counter before you open the turkey.
- This will save you touching anything once you have the turkey out of its wrapping.
- Remove the turkey from the wrapping
- Cut the string that is holding the legs together
- Remove the giblets from inside the Turkey.
- These are usually inside the cavity in a bag
- Wash under a lukewarm tap in the sink
- Make sure to wash inside the cavity as well.
- Place the turkey onto a chopping board and pat dry with throw away paper towels
How to Cut the Legs off the Turkey
- Take hold of one of the legs in one hand pulling it away from the main body.
- Use a very sharp knife to cut around the skin that is keeping it attached.
- Gently pull away the leg and place on a plate
- Do the same for the other leg
- Take one leg and hold it by the largest bone.
- Use the knife to cut the meat away from the leg bone.
- Twist the leg around as needed until all the bones have been removed
- Place the meat onto some aluminium foil
Turkey Legs with Stuffing
How to Add the Stuffing
- Spread it out as much as possible and add the stuffing
- Roll the top leg meat over so that you have the stuffing in the centre with the meat on both sides.
- Do the same for the other leg
- Cover with the tin foil and place in the oven on the lowest shelf.
- This can be cooked at the same time as the main turkey breast
- The stuffed turkey legs should only take about two hours to cook through
- Check them after about one and a half hours to make sure as each oven if different.
- If you have a fan oven they will take shorter time to cook.
- Leave in the tin foil to cool until you are ready to serve.
- When you carve the turkey legs you will find it is very easy to keep the meat and stuffing together
How To Roast the Turkey Breast
- Spread the butter, which should be softened at room temperature, all over the outside of the turkey
- Add sprinkles of salt and pepper if required
- Put the turkey into a cooking bag if you have one and put in a roasting tin.
- If you do not have a cooking bag then add about an inch of water to the roasting tin and then place the turkey in the middle of it.
- Cover the turkey with aluminium foil.
Some people would add an onion cut in half and some other vegetables to the roasting tin at this stage too. This is up to you if you want to do so. I prefer to leave the turkey alone to cook in the oven.
- Put the roasting tin in the middle shelf of the oven at 400 F for 20 minutes.
- Then lower the temperature to 325 F until an hour before the turkey is due to finish roasting.
A turkey which includes the legs attached would normally take approximately 15 minutes for every pound.
Because the turkey only has the breasts and wings it will be more like 10 minutes to every pound.
- Check on the progress of the turkey an hour before it is due to be finished cooking.
- You can add some of the juice from around the turkey to the top of it to make it more succulent.
- At this stage if it is not in a roasting bag and is covered with aluminium tin foil then I remove this in order to allow the breasts to brown
- The final hour or so lower the temperature to about 250 F
- Check the turkey is completely roasted by sticking a knife into the meat.
- If it comes out clean with no runny pink juice then it has roasted thoroughly.
- The meat between the wings should not be pink either.
The cooking times are always only approximate so go by your common sense when deciding if the turkey is fully cooked not by the times given.
- Remove from the roasting tin and bag if you used one, and put onto a large serving dish.
- Cover loosely with fresh aluminium tin foil and leave to cool for at least half an hour before carving.
- Pour the juices into a pot to use later when making the gravy
How to Make Homemade Stuffing
I prefer to buy the breadcrumbs ready made these days. But if you wish to make your own it is easy enough.
- Break the bread up into small pieces and put in a blender.
- Turn this on until the bread has turned into breadcrumbs of your desired size.
- Peel and chop up the onions into small pieces.
- Add halve the butter to a large pot and heat until nearly melted
- Add the chopped onions and cook until soft and slightly brown
- Add half the the parsley over the onions. I prefer to use fresh parsley because it tastes better but if you are unable to buy this then use dried parsley.
- Add some mixed herbs too.
- Stir in well
- Put the remaining butter into the pot and stir until melted
If you are making stuffing for the first time you will know once you have tasted it whether you need to add more or less of the seasoning for the next time. It all depends on your own taste
- Now add in the breadcrumbs and mix until all the wet ingredients have dissolved into them.
- Add the remaining parsley and mixed herbs and stir in well
Turkey Breast and Legs
This year I bought two aluminium dishes to use for the stuffing. You can use a roasting dish if you wish.
- If using the aluminium dishes grease the bottom and sides with butter and then pour the stuffing into the dishes.
- Cover with some tin foil
- If using a roasting dish grease the bottom and sides first.
- Then add a large sheet of aluminium foil making sure there is enough in it so you can cover the stuffing.
- Add the stuffing to the tin foil and cover over.
- Put the stuffing into the oven on the lowest shelf and cook for one hour.
- Remove the trays from the oven and gently stir until the crispy parts on top have moved further down.
- Put back in the oven for a further one hour
This allows the rest of the stuffing to become crusty too. Because it is on the lowest shelf in the oven it can be returned there to stay warm until you need it.
All Images are the copyright of L.M.Reid