Turkey Leg Roast with Mixed Citrus and Juniper


Preparation info

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Appears in

Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food


By Nik Sharma

Published 2018

  • About

When I was working on a story for my column in the San Francisco Chronicle, I did some research on juniper berries. I was fascinated to learn that Native Americans prized them for the piney, peppery notes they imparted to food. Ever since, I’ve been using juniper to season all sorts of soups and stews, and I’ve discovered that it also does wonders for poultry and game. Don’t waste money on a fancy baster for this recipe: a large ladle works just as well, if not better.


  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 cup [240 ml] low-sodium chicken stock
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp dried juniper berries, ground
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 oz [85 g] kumquats (about 12), halved crosswise and seeded
  • 2 to 3 garlic bulbs, halved crosswise
  • Two 3½ lb [1.6 kg] turkey legs, with skin


    Grate the zest of one orange and put it in a medium bowl. Squeeze and strain the juice from both oranges into the same bowl. Add the stock, lemon juice, juniper berries, cayenne, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a 9 by 13 in [23 by 33 cm] baking dish. Put the kumquats and garlic bulbs into the liquid and add the turkey legs. Cover the dish and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, occasionally spooning the marinade over the turkey.

    Preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Uncover the baking dish and transfer to the hot oven. Roast the turkey for 1½ to 2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 180°F [82°C] on an instant-read thermometer, basting the turkey occasionally with the liquid in the pan. Serve hot or warm.