L.M.Reid creates delicious recipes and gives step-by-step instructions with her own photos so you can learn how to make each recipe at home.
How to Bone, Stuff and Roll Turkey Legs
Learn how to remove the legs from the main body of the turkey and take out the remaining bones from the legs. I'll also show you how to make your own homemade stuffing and place it into the leg flesh.
There are step-by-step instructions with a video of my 86-year-old mother preparing and cooking the turkey legs. Learn how to make the homemade stuffing for this turkey recipe at home.
- 4 large onions
- 700 grams of butter, plus some extra to spread on the turkey breast
- 40 grams of fresh parsley, or dried if fresh is unavailable
- 2 grams of dried mixed herbs
- 800 grams of breadcrumbs
- 6 kilograms of fresh turkey, free range if possible
- Salt and pepper (optional)
Step 1: Make the Stuffing
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.
- Peel and chop up the onions into small pieces.
- Add half 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 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 of the mixed herbs and stir in well.
- Put the remaining butter into the pot and stir until melted.
- 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.
How to Make Your Own Breadcrumbs
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.
Step 2: Remove and Bone the Turkey Legs
- Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF.
- Remove any unnecessary objects from the kitchen counter before you open the turkey. This will save you from touching anything once you have it out of its wrapping.
- Remove the turkey from the wrapping.
- Cut the string that is holding the legs together.
- Remove the giblets from it. These are usually inside the cavity in a bag.
- Place the turkey onto a chopping board and pat it dry with throwaway paper towels.
- 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 it 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.
Step 3: Add the Stuffing
- Spread the meat out on the tinfoil 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 tinfoil.
Set aside any leftover stuffing. You can cook it on its own (see Step 6 below).
Step 4: Prepare 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 it into a cooking bag (if you have one) and place it in a roasting tin.
- If you do not have a cooking bag, add about an inch of water to the roasting tin, then place the turkey in the middle of it.
- Cover with aluminium foil.
- Optional: 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.
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Step 5: Roast the Breast and the Legs
A turkey with the legs attached would normally take approximately 15 minutes for every pound. Because this one only has the breasts and wings, it will be more like 10 minutes for every pound. The stuffed legs can be cooked at the same time as the main turkey breast after the initial 20 minutes. You may also want to cook your remaining stuffing at the same time (see Step 6 below).
- Put the breast in the roasting tin in the middle shelf of the oven at 400ºF for 20 minutes.
- Lower the temperature to 325ºF.
- Place the tinfoil-wrapped turkey legs in the oven on the lowest shelf.
Cooking Time for the Turkey Legs
- Check the legs after about one and a half hours. The legs should take about two hours to cook through, but you'll want to check early as each oven is different. (If you have a fan oven, they will take a shorter time to cook.)
- When they're done, remove from the oven and leave the legs in the tinfoil to cool until you are ready to serve them.
When you carve the turkey legs, you will find it very easy to keep the meat and stuffing together.
Cooking Time for the Turkey Breast
- Leave the breast in the oven at 325ºF until an hour before it is due to finish roasting. Check on its progress at this point.
- At this stage, if it is not in a roasting bag and is covered with aluminium tin foil, then I remove the foil in order to allow the breast to brown.
- For the final hour or so, lower the temperature to about 250ºF.
- Check whether it 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.
- Also check the meat between the wings—it should not be pink, either.
- Remove the breast from the roasting tin and bag (if you used one), and put it onto a large serving dish.
- Cover loosely with fresh aluminium tinfoil and leave it to cool for at least half an hour before carving.
- Pour the juices into a pot to use later, if you want to make a gravy. (I usually add the juices to Bisto Gravy Powder.)
Note: 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 in this recipe.
Step 6: Cook the Rest of the Stuffing
If you have any leftover stuffing, you can cook it on its own. You can do this at the same time you cook the 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 it is long enough so you can fold over the remainder and use it to cover the stuffing. Add the stuffing to the tinfoil and cover it.
- 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.
Stuffed Turkey Legs
My Mother Roasting the Turkey
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Questions & Answers
Question: How long does it take to cook a turkey?
Answer: Cook the turkey in the oven at 350 degrees F or 180C/160C fan/gas 4. For each kilo of turkey cook for 40 minutes and then add another 30 minutes to that time. When cooked remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 30-45 minutes before carving.