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Sunny Citrus Turkey Breast with Confit Legs and Wings

Sunny Citrus Turkey Breast with Confit Legs and Wings
Sunny Citrus Turkey Breast with Confit Legs and WingsNathan Congleton / TODAY

Chef notes

Serve one turkey two ways with chef Ryan Scott’s recipes for juicy roast turkey breast and tender confit turkey thighs and wings.

Option 1: One 8- to 10-pound whole turkey. Cut up at home with knife or strong kitchen shears, removing thighs and wings (keeping breast whole with rib bones).

Option 2: Buy one 6- to 8-pound turkey breast with rib bones. Separately buy two turkey thighs and two turkey wings.


Chef’s note about turkey confit: The beauty of this turkey confit dish is that you can make it ahead letting the dry rub marinate in the fridge for up to 2 days, and then the confit is good for 5 days after cooking. Use a slow cooker for this to free up your time and oven. Let the equipment do the work while you multitask or get some beauty sleep!


Turkey breast brine
  • 1 gallon water, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 6- to 8-pound whole turkey breast with rib bone
Turkey breast citrus marinade
  • 1 tablespoon dry powdered garlic
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dry onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dry paprika
  • 1/2 can frozen orange juice (6 ounces)
  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Turkey breast
  • 1 small orange, cut up into 4 sections
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth (to put in bottom of the pan)
  • Remainder of citrus marinade
Confit turkey thighs and wings
  • 1 dry bay leaf, broken into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1/8 cup celery salt
  • 1/8 kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons all spice
  • 1 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 large lemon, zested
  • 2 turkey thighs
  • 2 turkey wings
  • 6 cups olive oil
  • 4 cups canola oil


For the turkey breast:

Day 1: To brine turkey

  1. Use a 2-gallon zip-top bag for clean-up ease (or if turkey is too big, stores now carry "turkey brining bags that you can buy). Open and place the plastic zip top bag in a big bowl (the bowl gives structure to the bag and prevents all the liquid from spilling all over your counter if not careful).
  2. First add room temperature water and then the salt and sugar. Room temperature allows for the easy dissolving. Stir mixture with a wooden spoon until blended. Add the apple cider.
  3. Put the entire turkey breast into the zip top plastic bag and close. Put closed bag in the bowl into the refrigerator overnight (ensuring that the liquid is entirely covering the turkey in the plastic bag). Brine over night; 24 hours if possible (minimum of 12 hours).

Day 2: Marinating the whole turkey breast

  1. Take the turkey breast out of the bag and discard all the liquid. Completely pat dry the inside and outside of turkey breast with paper towels.
  2. In a blender or a food processor, mix together all the marinade ingredients.
  3. Place a new 2-gallon plastic bag in a large bowl. Put the turkey inside with open cavity facing up. Pour some of the marinade inside the cavity and the remainder all around the turkey. Close/zip up the bag and massage/squish the bag around to ensure marinade is covering all parts of the turkey breast.
  4. Refrigerate for 24 hours; rotating the bag of turkey breast within the bowl once, to ensure even distribution of the marinade on the turkey.

Day 3: Roasting the turkey breast

  1. Let turkey breast come to room temperature, about 20 minutes. During this time, pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Stuff the turkey breast cavity with the cut-up orange. If extra section(s) left, squeeze the juice into the bottom of the pan.
  3. To stabilize the whole breast so it doesn't fall over, make a foil snake (crumble foil into a rope shape and circle that on the rack, so the bird sits snuggly). Put the whole turkey breast on roasting pan rack; breast side up. Pour the chicken broth in the bottom of the pan.
  4. Pour the extra marinade in a bowl and brush the marinade all over the turkey breast. Pour the remainder of the marinade in the pan.
  5. Roast turkey at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
  6. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees and roast for about 1½ hours, until meat temperature is 160 degrees. Check turkey at the 45 minute mark and if the skin is getting too brown, put a piece of foil lightly over the breast.
  7. When turkey is done, let rest for about 30 to 45 minutes before carving. Place a piece of foil lightly over the whole breast to retain heat, but not too tightly as that will steam your bird.
  8. Rule of thumb is to rest your bird 5 to 8 minutes for every pound of meat.

For the confit turkey thighs and wings:

  1. Mix all the spices and lemon zest together. If you have a mini food prep or coffee grinder that you set aside specifically for spices, put in everything to blend spice mix thoroughly. Otherwise use a fork and stir to mix thoroughly.
  2. Pour spice mix onto a large plate or small baking dish with rim.
  3. Roll each turkey thigh or wing around in the spice mix until covering completely each thigh or wing.
  4. Put all thighs and wings in one layer in a pan and cover with plastic wrap. Or, if space in your fridge is a premium this (turkey) time of the year, wrap each thigh or wing in plastic wrap and put all them into a 2-quart plastic ziptop bag to store.
  5. Refrigerate turkey thighs for 2 days (1 day minimum if short on time) and take out turkey and bring to room temperature 20 minutes before cooking.
  6. With your slow cooker, look online for your brand, and check the temperature of "Warm" and "Low". We want 190 degrees as the setting to cook the turkey thighs and wings.
  7. Put turkey thighs and wings into the slow cooker.
  8. Use a 60/40 ratio of olive oil and canola oil; so about 6 cups of olive oil and 4 cups of canola oil. Pour the oils over the thighs and wings until completely submerged in the liquid.
  9. Cover and leave in slow cooker with timer, for 10 hours.
  10. At 10 hours, the meat should be tender—but not so much that it falls off the bone.
  11. Let whole mixture cool for about an hour and gently lift the turkey pieces from the oil onto a platter. Wait until the oil is completely cool (about 3 hours) before discarding.
  12. Shred the meat from the turkey thigh bones; discard bones. Leave the wings whole. The thigh meat and whole wings are ready to serve, or if saving for another day, reheat in the oven until warm.