The Turkey Dinner Recipe for All Seasons

 Courtesy Olive Press

Situated next to a number of popular meals like fish and chips, as well as their father's lamb stew recipe, Max and Eli Sussman, in their latest cookbook, Classic Recipes for Modern People, put a new twist on a dish that you probably find yourself craving every now and then. 

The thing about the turkey dinner is that you shouldn't have to wait until Thanksgiving to enjoy it, but you also shouldn't have to spend an entire day in the kitchen cooking some elaborate meal if it isn't a holiday or you're not hosting a fancy dinner party. All you need for this one is enough foresight to put the drumsticks in the brine 24 hours before cooking, and you can have a turkey dinner all to yourself or for a few friends who also don't want to wait until November to have turkey and stuffing and drink a Belgian Tripel to go along with it. 

Eli & Max Sussman's Turkey Dinner



  • 1 cup (8 oz/250 g) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (8 oz/250 g) sugar
  • 4 árbol chiles
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 2 Tbsp peppercorns
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 turkey drumsticks, about 1½ lb (750 g) total weight


Spice rub

  • ¼ cup (1 oz/30 g) hot paprika
  • 2 Tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) chicken stock
  • ½ cup (2½ oz/75 g) chopped carrots


  • 4 Tbsp (2 oz/60 g) unsalted butter
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and roughly cut into ½-inch (12-mm) pieces
  • Heart from 1 bunch celery, roughly cut into ½-inch (12-mm) pieces
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • Leaves from 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • Leaves from 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 loaf (1 lb/500 g) challah, torn into chunks
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) chicken stock, plus more as needed
  1. To make the brine, in a large pot, combine 8 quarts (8 l) water, the salt, sugar, chiles, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, and lemon and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
  2. Add the turkey drumsticks to the brine, making sure they are submerged. To weight them down, set a plate with a can on top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Remove the drumsticks from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the brine.
  4. To make the spice rub, in a small bowl, stir together the hot paprika, sweet paprika, pepper, garlic powder, salt, and sugar. Coat the turkey drumsticks all over with the spice rub.
  5. Place the drumsticks on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until browned and the fat starts to render out slightly, about 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F (150°C) and add the stock and the chopped carrots to the pan. Continue roasting until the turkey drumsticks are tender and the meat is nearly falling off the bone, about 1 hour longer.
  6. To make the stuffing, in a Dutch oven or other large, heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, rosemary, and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the challah, stir well, and cook until some of the bread is toasted, about 4 minutes. Add the stock and simmer until the bread has absorbed all of the liquid, about 10 minutes. Continue cooking until some of the bits of bread are crispy again, about 3 minutes longer. For softer stuffing, add more stock, ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) at a time, until the desired consistency.
  7. Serve the drumsticks topped with the pan drippings and with the stuffing alongside.

*Serves 2 to 4