Star Anise Braised Turkey Thighs with Scallion Polenta and Sautéed Crimini Mushrooms

By Executive Chef Tom Elder


4 oz whole butter, DIVIDED

2 tsp minced fresh garlic

2 lbs crimini mushrooms, cleaned and qtered

8 oz dry white wine

To Taste salt and freshly ground black pepper

24 oz cold water

8 oz heavy cream

2 tbsp minced scallions

1/2 tsp kosher salt

8 oz white or yellow cornmeal

6 Each whole star anise

1 tbsp black peppercorns

1 c sugar

3 c kosher salt

4 Fresh thyme sprigs

1 Fresh rosemary sprig

6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

10 lbs (small 1 lb each preferred) bone-in TURKEY THIGHS

4 oz olive oil

8 oz onions, rough cut

4 oz carrots, rough cut

4 oz celery, rough cut

8 oz dry white wine

48 oz TURKEY STOCK or chicken stock

8 oz reserved braising stock/liquid

16 oz demi-glace

To taste kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

As needed reserved braising stock/liquid

As needed Italian parsley, chopped fine


Sautéed Crimini Mushrooms

Heat 2 ounces butter in a sauté pan over medium heat.

Add garlic and sauté until lightly browned.

Add mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add white wine and cook until wine is almost completely reduced.

Add remaining 2 ounces butter and melt to coat mushrooms.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Scallion Polenta

Bring water, cream, scallions and salt to a boil.

Slowly add cornmeal in a stream, mixing with a whip to start, then changing to a wooden spoon.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If necessary, adjust consistency with poultry stock or water. Cook until done.

Turkey Thighs

Toast star anise and peppercorns in a skillet for 5 minutes until the aroma becomes strong.

Remove from the pan and wrap in a clean kitchen towel. Smash them with a mallet or sauté pan.

In a steam table pan, combine the spices with sugar, salt, thyme, rosemary and garlic.

Rub the spice mixture all over the turkey thighs and bury them in the mixture in the steam table pan. Cover pan and refrigerate for 10 hours.

Remove the turkey thighs from the salt/spice mixture. Under cold running water AND over a colander, rinse away the spice mixture, saving the garlic, thyme, rosemary and crushed spices.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook 5 minutes until vegetables are soft. Add the reserved garlic, thyme, rosemary and crushed spices. Pour in wine and reduce the mixture by half.

Add poultry stock and bring to a boil.

In a stainless steel 2-inch hotel pan, place turkey thighs in a single layer. Pour the boiling stock mixture over the thighs. Wrap in plastic wrap and then with foil.

Place in a preheated 325 degree F oven for 2-1/2 hours or until the turkey legs are tender.

When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Remove turkey from the braising liquid and drain. Wrap each thigh individually.

Strain the stock through a chinois and degrease. Reserve stock to reheat thighs and for use in finishing sauce.

Turkey Thigh Braising Jus (Finishing Sauce)

Place 8 ounces reserved braising stock/liquid in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce by half.

Add demi-glace and bring to a boil. Add seasonings. Hold hot for service.

Service and Plating

Remove skin from thighs and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Gently warm slices in braising stock/liquid from step 11, above.

Portion polenta onto warmed dinner plates. Shingle turkey slices over half of the polenta.

Spoon a portion of mushrooms atop the turkey. Spoon braising jus over the thighs/mushrooms and drizzle additional jus around the plate.

Sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon Italian parsley.