When it comes to Thanksgiving, the (non-vegetarian) world neatly divides into two groups: those who like dark meat and those who prefer white.

It's hard to please everyone when you roast a whole turkey. To get perfectly cooked dark meat on a big bird, you run the risk of overcooking the white meat; and if you favor white meat, the dark could turn out undercooked.

I have a simple solution that will keep everyone happy: Cook the dark meat and white meat separately, braising the legs and roasting the breast, as I do in Turkey Two Ways. It's a longer recipe, complete with delicious gravy and stuffing. But each step is fairly easy--especially if you start by asking your butcher to cut up the turkey and bone the legs for you, as I describe. With Thanksgiving a week away, get your order in right now!

For a change, I'll be unusually brief here, and let the recipe speak for itself--except to wish you a happy and delicious Thanksgiving!

Turkey Two Ways Recipe

Serves 12

1 fresh 20-pound free-range organic turkey

For Turkey Legs:


Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup Wild Mushroom Stuffing (recipe follows)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup organic chicken broth

3 stalks organic celery, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 large organic carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 yellow onions, diced

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 cups bottled pomegranate juice

For Turkey Breast:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves


Fresh ground black pepper

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Ask the butcher to cut the legs from the turkey and remove the backbone, leaving the breast whole. Then, have the butcher to bone the legs without cutting through the skin, also removing all tendons and silvery connective tissue.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Turn the legs skin down. Cover with plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet until evenly thick. Remove the plastic wrap. Season the meat with salt and pepper.

Spoon Wild Mushroom Stuffing down the center of each leg. Fold the meat and skin around the stuffing, then tie each leg securely in several places with pieces of kitchen string and secure the ends shut with skewers. Season the skin with salt and pepper.

Over medium-high heat on the stovetop, heat a roasting pan large enough to hold the legs. Add the oil and, when it flows freely, sear the legs until golden brown all over, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the legs, set aside, and add the carrot, celery, onion, and fresh rosemary; saute until evenly browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon to deglaze.

Return the legs to the pan. Cover the pan securely with aluminum foil, transfer to the oven, and cook until the legs reach an internal temperature of 130 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 hours.

As soon as the legs go into the oven, start preparing the breast. In a bowl, mash together the butter, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Taking care not to tear the breast's skin, insert your fingers underneath to separate it from the meat. With your fingers, spread the butter under the skin. Season the breast with salt and pepper and rub with olive oil.

Place the breast skin up on a rack inside a roasting pan just large enough to hold it. Roast, basting every 15 minutes with the pan drippings, until the breast reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into its thickest part; then, transfer to a platter and cover with foil. (The breast should be done around the same time the legs are ready to serve.)

When the legs have reached the desired internal temperature (see above), remove the foil and continue roasting until the skin darkens and the internal temperature rises to 140 degrees F. Remove from the pan to a platter and cover with foil until serving time.

Add the pomegranate juice to the legs' braising liquid. Simmer on the stove for 10 minutes. Remove the rosemary sprigs, then pass the liquid and vegetables through a food mill, or transfer to a saucepan and puree with an immersion blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Leave undisturbed for about 20 minutes and, with a small ladle, skim fat from the surface. Reheat this sauce just before serving.

Remove the string and skewers from the legs and cut crosswise into slices 1/2 inch thick. Carve the breast into slices as thick or thin as desired. Arrange the meat on a platter and pass the sauce separately.

Wild Mushroom Stuffing Recipe

Serves 12

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

1/4 pound chicken livers

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 loaves stale white bread, crusts removed, bread cut into cubes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 stalks organic celery with leaves, chopped

2 medium yellow onions, chopped

2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped

3 cups sliced cultivated mushrooms

1 cup good-quality canned chicken broth

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves


Freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the porcini thoroughly, put in a small bowl, add water to cover, and leave to soak.

In a small saute pan over medium heat, saute the livers in the butter just until lightly browned and the livers' fat has rendered. Put the bread cubes in a large mixing bowl and pour the chicken fat and butter over them. Cut the livers into small dice and pour over the bread.

Remove the porcini, finely chop, and set aside. Reserve their soaking water.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the celery, onions, and pancetta. Cook until the vegetables are translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the porcini, soaking liquid, sliced mushrooms, and broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has almost completely evaporated, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Add the mushroom mixture, eggs, and herbs to the bowl and stir until fully mixed, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Use some of the mixture to stuff the turkey legs. Transfer the remainder to a buttered baking dish and bake, covered, until heated through, about 30 minutes.


Subscribe to Receive our Gourmet Recipes

Turkey Two Ways & Stuufing Recipe - Wolfgang Puck Recipes

World-renowned chefs with an extraordinary passion for food share their passion on iHaveNet.com. These chefs make great cooking easier than imagined. Each gourmet recipe features expert advice and an easy-to-make recipe. Exactly what you need to transform your home cooking from acceptable to delectable

© Wolfgang Puck Recipes