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Bresse-Style Poached and Roasted Turkey

Servings: 12 to 15

This unusual method, shared with us by d’Artagnan founder and CEO Ariane Daguin, will have you rethinking how you cook your bird. The process of poaching the turkey in a broth of aromatic vegetables then slowly cooling it overnight in its poaching liquid before roasting makes it incredibly flavorful and moist. (Another smart idea: use the leftover poaching liquid as the base for a first-course soup—see the tip below for details.) There’s just one “catch”: You need a pot large enough to fit your turkey. For a 12- to 14-lb. turkey you’ll need one that holds at least 20 quarts. But it’s worth it for a turkey with crispy, golden brown skin and moist, juicy, flavorful meat every time.


  • 2 cups sliced onions
  • 2 cups peeled, chopped carrots
  • 1 cup peeled, chopped turnips
  • 1 cup thinly sliced leeks (white and light-green parts)
  • 1 7-oz. container duck demi-glace
  • Black peppercorns
  • Dried bay leaves
  • 1 12- to 14-lb. turkey, giblets removed
  • Kosher salt


Place the onions, carrots, turnips, leeks, and demiglace in an extra-large stockpot. Fill the pot 3/4 full with water, and add a handful of black peppercorns and bay leaves.

Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and very carefully lower the turkey into the pot, head-side down, so the liquid fills the cavity. Season generously with salt.

Cover the pot, making sure the turkey is fully submerged, and return it to a boil. Adjust the heat to a simmer, and cook for 40 minutes.

Remove from the heat, and let the turkey cool on the stove in the pot (up to 4 hours). Once cool, place the pot in the refrigerator and chill the turkey overnight in its poaching liquid. (If your fridge is not big enough, you can chill the pot in an ice-filled bathtub).

Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven, and heat the oven to 375°F.

Carefully transfer the turkey to a rack set in your roasting pan. Place the turkey in the oven, and roast for 1-1/2 hours.



To make a soup from the leftover poaching liquid: While the turkey roasts, remove the peppercorns and the bay leaves from the poaching liquid and transfer about 1 quart to a smaller stockpot. Add 1 peeled and cubed butternut squash, 1 peeled and cubed sweet potato, a halved onion, a few chopped carrots, some green leeks, and a few handfuls of peeled chestnuts. If needed, add a little more liquid to cover the vegetables. (You’ll have more liquid remaining in the pot—transfer to freezer bags, and freeze for later use.)

Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer until the vegetables are cooked and soft. Using a hand mixer, purée the soup until smooth. Adjust the seasonings with cider or sherry vinegar to taste.


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Reviews (5 reviews)

  • jancokely | 11/26/2021

    I was so confused by Fine Cooking's interpretation of this recipe. As another reviewer noted, the cooking time in your magazine's recipe varied wildly from D'Artagnan's version. (The only reason I even found the other version was at one point while grocery shopping I googled Bresse Turkey and found her version online.)

    When making what arguably is considered the "most important meal of the year" you don't want to question whether it's 375 or 475 degrees. Also, her version calls for duck fat and more onion. I asked myself if these changes were a miscommunication, an oversight or an edit? (I did use the duck fat and a chicken demi glace as we don't eat veal.)

    Also, my new humungous stock pot - which I purchased to try this recipe - apparently retains heat, so after the prescribed four hours I was still trying to cool it off in water baths in my kitchen sink before packing it with ice for the night... an endeavor that kept me up until 1:30 a.m. the night before Thanksgiving. (IF I were to re-do this, I would start much earlier in the day (!) or would place the turkey in a brining bag with enough stock to keep it immersed and cold it in the fridge or an ice packed cooler overnight.)

    When I checked it at 5:30 a.m. the 40 pounds of ice I used to cool off the stock pot was still frozen (good news) however the broth was only "cool" not cold. Food safety concerned me. I punted and pulled the turkey (a sad, gray, disheveled mess) out of the broth and placed it covered by a kitchen towel on a cookie sheet in my fridge to bring it to a safe temp. Needless to say, I was concerned that this year's turkey would be an ugly, toxic mess for my family. I ended up ditching the broth down the drain for food safety reasons. This of course was sad, having visions of soup.

    Having said all this, I ended up roasting the bird as per D'Artagnan's instructions at 475 for 30 mins, turning off the oven. To my surprise, the skin did darken and crisp (was it the duck fat?) so the presentation was much better than I expected. The white meat was dry, however the dark meat was moist and flavorful. I didn't get juices for gravy, however the bits that remained were tasty and did add to the gravy. Finally and added bonus... there was no question as to the "doneness of the bird", especially by my mother who hovers around each year poking the thigh and making sure that the juices run clear!

  • lemurlaw | 11/26/2021

    I used turkey demi glace from Williams Sonoma. Cooked in the oven for just 1 Hour at 375 and it was a nice golden brown. Meat was very moist and tasty!

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