Everyone frets about presenting a dry turkey on Thanksgiving because the bird doesn’t cook evenly. To prevent serving dry white meat and potentially undercooked dark meat, cook the two delicious fowl parts separately. Buy a turkey breast and bake it by its lonesome while you confit the dark bits in fat and aromatic vegetables. This method will put an end to your worries and yield perfectly tender, tasty meat. Here’s the “how to” for cooking turkey thighs using the confit method.
Confit Turkey Thighs
4 turkey thighs, bone-in and skin on
4 to 6 cups canola oil
10 thyme sprigs
10 parsley stems
5 to 8 bay leaves
15 whole black peppercorns
10 whole fennel seeds
10 juniper berries
1 leek, cut down the middle, cleaned, and sliced into 4-inch pieces
1 carrot, scrubbed clean and sliced into 4-inch pieces
2 teaspoons salt
Preheat an oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the oil, aromatic vegetables and spices in deep baking dish or soup pot then nestle the turkey thighs (skin-side-up) so that they rest just beneath the oil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid or two layers of aluminum foil and bake at the low temperature for 4 to 5 hours, or until the thighs are fork tender. Remove the confit turkey from the oven and scoop the thighs onto a plate to cool slightly.
Place a fine mesh strainer over a large measuring cup or bowl and pour the remaining fatty liquid through the strainer to extract the aromatics. Allow the fat to separate and rise to the top then ladle it off until you’re left with the the delicious liquid stock at the bottom bowl or measuring cup.
Alternatively, extract the liquid from the bottom of a tall measuring cup with a bulb baster. To do this, squeeze the bulb and insert the pointed end through the fat, into the liquid; Release the bulb to suck up the tasty liquid and immediately lift the baster up and over to another clean bowl. Squeeze the bulb to release the liquid. Repeat until all stock is sucked up from the bottom of the measuring cup. In the end, the measuring cup will only hold the fat.
Shred the meat into large pieces and store it in the fat or alone in a zip top bag for up to 3 days, refrigerated. To reheat the meat, transfer it to a baking dish and cover with the flavorful fat. Bake the turkey in an oven, set to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, for 30 minutes, or until the meat is reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Serve with the rest of your Thanksgiving feast.