Apple-Braised Turkey

braised turkey with apples
Sticking with the apple theme but thinking ahead to Thanksgiving dinner, I wanted to share this apple-braised turkey dish that I made not too long ago. I don't recommend that you use this recipe for your Thanksgiving main attraction (as there's something traditional and stunning about a roasted turkey), but I do think it's great for getting in turkey mode. I don't know about you, but I don't really eat turkey besides on Thanksgiving. There are maybe a couple other times during the year when I'll have it, and sometimes I'll have turkey burgers or meatballs or deli turkey, but I think I eat less turkey than any other common meat or poultry.

It's nice to shake up the dinner routine every now and then with something not so usual. This recipe is supposed to be made with turkey thighs, which I really think would be best because of the slow cook time, but we couldn't find any. I then thought I'd make it with bone-in, skin-on turkey breasts, but there were none of those either, so I used boneless, skinless breasts. They worked out pretty well but definitely needed some extra spoonfuls of the pan sauce so they didn't dry out on the plate.

I also just used the apples I had instead of buying Granny Smiths like the recipe called for. I'm not even sure what kind I used, but they didn't hold their shape during the cooking process, so we ended up with a sort of loose applesauce as the pan sauce. It was delicious, but if you want to end up with apple wedges instead, then try the Granny Smiths.

Apple-Braised Turkey (adapted from Everyday Food, October 2009)


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 boneless, skinless turkey breasts (about 2 pounds)
salt and pepper
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
4 apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
2 cups apple cider
14.5 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons cider vinegar

apple-braised turkey ingredients

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season turkey with salt and pepper. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add turkey and cook until lightly browned on both sides.

browned turkey
Transfer turkey to a plate, and add shallots to Dutch oven. Saute shallots until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add apples, and cook for 5 minutes more.

shallots and apples
Return turkey to the pot.

turkey and apples
Then pour the cider and broth over everything.

braised turkey and apples
Bring mixture to a boil. Then cover the pot and place in preheated oven. Cook for an hour and a half covered, and then uncover and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

Plate turkey (right on your dinner plates to prepare to serve it is fine). Then skim any fat off the liquid in the pot, and add the cider vinegar. Top turkey with the pan sauce.

I made some sliced potatoes with garlic and rosemary to go alongside this. The turkey dish was very tasty. As I said above, the turkey wasn't all incredibly moist, but spoonfuls of the pan sauce, which was slightly sweet and applesauce-like really brought the whole dish together and added the necessary moisture to the meat.

Do you eat turkey very often? Have you ever cooked it in an interesting way like this as opposed to just roasting it?