You can’t argue with tender, moist, flavourful and stress-free. That sums up Sous Vide Turkey Thighs glazed with maple syrup, Balsamic, Dijon and orange zest. I know there are a lot of turkey dark meat doubters out there, but you just might change you mind when you taste these turkey thighs.
The soft tender meat emboldened by the glaze and sauce is simply delicious. I admit even I was surprised and I’m a dark meat lover. Roasted turkey thighs can be chewy, tough and stringy. The sous vide method creates a whole different universe for thighs. And the best part is they only take about 20 minutes of hands on time.
I have a ‘box-like’ sous vide machine from Cedarlane Culinary that works great. I actually use it in my laundry room where it is out of my way and doesn’t take up space in my kitchen. For those who are new to the sous vide method, here’s a good definition: Sous vide is a culinary technique in which vacuum-sealed food is immersed in a water bath and cooked at a very precise, consistent temperature. The precise temperature control allows you to cook food to perfection, while the forgiving nature of this cooking method also eliminates concerns about overcooking.
We’ve been experimenting with sous vide for a couple of years. This 9 Really Good Sous Vide Recipes post includes some things we’ve learned as well as links to several experts’ time and temperature charts, the holy grail of sous vide.
Make Ahead Sous Vide Turkey Thighs
- The turkey thighs can be vacuum sealed and kept in the refrigerator for a few days before cooking.
- The sous vide process can be done ahead of time (or just leave the sealed bags in the water an extra 30-60 minutes). Glaze and broil the cooked thighs just before serving.
Glazed Sous Vide Turkey Thighs Recipe
- 2 boneless turkey thighs, with or without skin, (1.5-2 pounds total)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp poultry seasoning or thyme
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- OPTIONAL BRINE: salt, peppercorns, sugar
- 2 tbsp Maple syrup
- 1 tbsp good Balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp orange zest, divided
- 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/8 tsp each, salt and pepper
Turn Glaze into Sauce
- 1/2 cup turkey juices/broth
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- GARNISH: sea salt, chopped parsley, extra orange zest
- BRINE TURKEY THIGHS (OPTIONAL): Note 1
- PREPARE SOUS VIDE BATH: Fill water in the sous vide machine as per manufacturers instructions (not too high). Set the temperature to 150F and allow water to heat to that temperature.
- PREPARE TURKEY FOR SOUS VIDE: Mix oil and poultry seasoning in a small cup. Rub mixture all over turkey thighs and tuck edges under to make an even roll. Place small sprig of rosemary under each thigh or sprinkle some dried rosemary on thighs. Don't overdo the rosemary or flavours will be too overpowering. Fold back top of sous vide bags about an inch to create a flap (this ensures no food touches the top of the bag where it gets sealed). Insert two turkey thighs and shape them to an even thickness (to cook more evenly). Unfold flap and vacuum seal the bag using a vacuum sealer (Note 2). TO MAKE AHEAD (Note 3)
- SOUS VIDE TURKEY: Submerge the vacuum sealed bag into water, now at 150F. Cover and cook for minimum 2 1/2 hours and a maximum of 4 1/2 hours. (I did mine for 3 1/2 and they were excellent). Remove from sous vide machine and remove from bag. Reserve juices for sauce. Pat turkey dry with a paper towel.
- MAKE GLAZE/SAUCE: In a small cup, whisk together all Glaze ingredients including 1/2 teaspoon orange zest. Half of glaze will be used to glaze thighs - the rest to make the sauce. To make sauce, add remaining glaze, cornstarch, turkey juices/broth, 1/2 teaspoon orange zest and salt and pepper to taste to a small sauce pan. Heat on medium high for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until slightly reduced and thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings (syrup, salt, orange, etc).
- FINISH AND SERVE: Place thighs on foil lined pan, brush with glaze all over and broil for 2-3 minutes 6 inches from heat at top. Remove and brush with glaze again. Add garnish of orange zest and parsley if desired. Slice and serve with sauce drizzled on top or on the side.
- Note 1: To brine turkey thighs (optional): I buy kosher turkey, already brined, but you can easily brine thighs yourself to add flavour: Fill ziploc bag with 3 cups room temperature water, 3 tablespoons kosher salt, 1 tablespoon, 6-8 peppercorns. Massage to dissolve salt and sugar. Place thighs in bag, seal and let sit in fridge for about 1-2 hours. Don't brine too long as boneless thighs are not very thick.
- Note 2: Instead of a vacuum sealer, you can use a heavy zipper-lock bag. Place turkey thights in bag. Slowly lower bag into water. The pressure of the water will press air out of bag. When bag is just above water line and air is mostly out, seal (zip up) bag.
- Note 3: To Make Ahead: Turkey can be refrigerated in the bag for a couple of days.
Other sous vide recipe you might like:
Sous Vide Turkey Breast get the recipe
9 Really Good Sous Vide Recipes get the recipe links here