Fun, Totally Unscientific Fact: A typical Turkey Day bird can probably feed a family of four with several weeks of leftovers (not that that’s a problem with us). Rather than dealing with the complications of cooking a giant bird in your oven, how about taking a more practical approach to the traditional turkey? Whether you’re unable to make the big family gathering this year, simply want to have something a little more low-key or just do NOT feel like fitting a 25-lber in your oven, we have 21 recipes for cooking the perfect turkey (part) for any intimate gathering. You’ll get that classic Thanksgiving experience with about half the work and half the excess food.
1. Braised Turkey Legs: You can get turkey legs all year-round, but they make an especially impressive centerpiece on Thanksgiving. A long, slow braise will get your house smelling as if you cooked a bird all day, without needing to hover over the stove. (via Bon Appétit)
3. Turkey Roulade With Sundried Tomatoes: This elegant main course adds color and tons of extra flavor to mild turkey breast. Stuff the roulade with your family’s favorite veggies for a unique take on your classic meal. (via Miel & Ricotta)
4. Crock Pot Turkey Breast: Thanksgiving for two can still be a classy affair, thanks to this easy recipe that gives you a super juicy piece of meat and a perfect cranberry sauce with almost no effort. (via Krafted Koch)
5. Turkey Sausage Stuffed Turkey: It’s like turkey inception, but super delicious and focused on not wasting any of that delicious dark meat. You could even make this with leftovers from a big bird. (via Vivek’s Epicurean Adventures)
7. Crispy Turkey Cutlets: Honestly, who is going to turn down a super crispy fried cutlet? Make with turkey or chicken for a delicious main course, served best (duh) with cranberry sauce. (via Things I Made Today)
8. Simple Roasted Turkey Breasts: Think of a turkey breast as a blank slate. You can add basically any flavors you like, and it will still be super tasty if you follow the same basic cooking method. (via Cook Eat Paleo)
9. Sancocho: A cold Thanksgiving day calls for this thick and hearty Latin American stew. Turkey thighs and plenty of veggies make for a bowl full of flavor and warm, meaty goodness. (via Feel Good Food Blog)
12. Turkey Confit With Celery Root Purée: Get a little fancy with this turkey leg recipe. Confiting the meat takes more time, but the extra juiciness from the bird’s fat will make your meal extra decadent. (via Dentist Chef)
14. Turkey Sausage Patties: Got leftover turkey scraps or just love breakfast for dinner? These homemade sausage patties would be great served over a bright green salad, maybe with some pumpkin rolls on the side. (via In Sock Monkey Slippers)
16. Turkey Porchetta: Still want a super decadent turkey meal to throw you into a tryptophan coma? This take on the traditional Italian porchetta will do just that, with plenty of leftovers to make sandwiches the next day. (via Serious Eats)
17. Turkey Breast Stuffed With Butternut Squash and Figs: This sweet and savory mixture creates a ton of flavor without a lot of extra fat, making it the perfect light holiday meal choice. (via Skinny Taste)
20. Turkey au Vin: Take the classic coq au vin and boost it up with turkey for T-Day. You will not be disappointed with the rich sauce and gravy, full of turkey drippings, bacon and brown sugar. (via In Your Kitchen and Mine)
Would you make any of these turkey recipes for your main course this Thanksgiving? Let us know your favorite recipes in the comments below!