Brined roast turkey crown & confit legs 2016

Brined roast turkey crown & confit legs

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(7 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 5 hrs, 30 mins plus overnight brining and chilling

More effort

Serves 8 - 10

Always wanted to know how to get your turkey breast succulent, and the leg meat falling off the bone? Dry-brining tenderises and adds lots of flavour

Nutrition and extra info

  • Gluten-free
  • Nut-free

Nutrition: per serving (10)

  • kcal645
  • fat31g
  • saturates10g
  • carbs2g
  • sugars1g
  • fibre0g
  • protein90g
  • salt2.3g
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  • 5kg turkey, legs and thighs removed, wings cut from the breast (ask your butcher to chop the neck and backbone into pieces for the gravy)



    While it's the traditional Christmas bird, turkey is good to eat all year round, though…

  • 500g duck fat or goose fat
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 sage sprigs



    Popular in both Italian and British cookery, sage has long, grey-green leaves with a slightly…

  • 1 onion, quartered



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 50g butter, softened



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

For the dry brine

  • 160g flaky sea salt
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns, toasted
  • 6 bay leaves, crumpled up
  • 6 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp lemon zest (about 6 lemons)



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 4 tbsp orange zest (about 4 oranges)


  1. Up to four days before, make the brine by combining the salt, peppercorns, bay, sage and sugar using a pestle and mortar, or crush with the end of a rolling pin in a bowl. Stir through both zests and spoon roughly 1/ 3 into a large resealable bag and the rest in another bag to chill. 

  2. Put the turkey legs and wings in the bag with 1/ 3 of the brine and shake well to coat the skin, then leave overnight in the fridge.

  3. The next day, heat oven to 120C/ 100C fan/gas 1. Rinse the brine from the legs and wings and pat dry. Put the duck fat in a roasting tin, melt in the oven for 5 mins, then add the turkey pieces (they should be submerged in the fat). Cook in the middle of the oven for about 4 hrs or until the legs are tender. Leave to cool, then cover and chill overnight, or up to three days.

  4. On Christmas Eve, cover the turkey crown in the remaining dry brine and chill in the fridge overnight.

  5. In the morning, take the crown out the fridge 1 hr before roasting, rinse off the brine and pat dry with kitchen paper. Take the confit legs, thighs and wings out the fridge and leave to come to room temperature so they are easily released from the fat. Take out and put on a baking tray ready to reheat later. Strain the fat and set aside ready to cook the potatoes.

  6. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and line a large shallow roasting tin with foil. Set a wire rack on top, scatter the herbs and onion across and sit the crown on top. Rub the butter all over the skin and season well. Roast, uncovered, for 40 mins, then cover with foil and cook for another 30 mins. Remove the foil, and cook for a final 15-20 mins. To test if the turkey is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the breast – the juices should run clear. Transfer to a platter, cover with foil and leave to rest for at least 30 mins.

  7. Meanwhile, reheat the confit legs and wings in the oven for 30 mins or until the skin has crisped up. Add to the platter with the crown and carve.

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Comments, questions and tips

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21st Oct, 2018
I have made this twice now and it has been rated as the best turkey ever, this is after cooking many, many Christmas dinners. I used half oil and half goose fat fir the legs as I don't like potatoes roasted entirely in goose fat. Worked perfectly. I got my butcher to cut the legs and wings off.
8th Nov, 2017
Cooked twice last year with great success, will be using method again this year for pre-Christmas celebration.
30th Dec, 2016
Followed recipe as stated, although used a 12.5lb turkey and took GF advice re timing of turkey crown. My timer was set so many times while cooking the crown....The confit legs were amazing! ( see comment below about needing more goose fat) So tender and moist. All guests were full of compliments. I should have followed my instincts and covered the crown with lots more butter and streaky bacon! The crown was a wee bit dry. Remember to find recipes to use up your lemons and oranges! Quite expensive to make, but glad I tried it. Will I use same recipe next year? Not sure....
22nd Dec, 2016
I am currently cooking the confit legs etc with a 12.5lb turkey. I started with 600g goose fat and just sent my husband to the shops to buy more goose fat! If the legs need to be submerged in the fat, you will need more than the 500g suggested.
15th Nov, 2016
This looks amazing and definitely want to try it. We have 13 for lunch so will need a larger bird - 6.5 to 7kg - any ideas how to adjust the timings?
25th Nov, 2016
I love the look of this recipe and want to try it on Christmas Day but we have 13 for lunch so will need a 6 - 7 kg bird. How do I adjust the cooking times?
goodfoodteam's picture
8th Dec, 2016
Thanks for your question. We haven't tested this recipe for a larger bird and it will depend on exactly what size you get. We would suggest using a meat thermometer to ensure the bird is fully cooked through. As a rough idea, the legs will take moreorless the same amount of time and give the crown an extra 30 mins with the foil but the same time uncovered. Hope that helps!
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