Best Way to Cook a Turkey: Poached & Roasted Bresse-Style

We’ve already discussed the pros and cons of turkey brining here. For those that want to go beyond the brine, there is the Bresse style of poaching a turkey.

Ariane is a huge proponent of this style of cooking from Bresse, the capital of all things poultry in France. Why? Because poaching a turkey, chicken or capon in a large pot renders the meat more tender than any cold brine can. It’s not really any more effort than brining, as both techniques require a pot that can fit the whole bird. This is probably best for turkeys on the smaller side, as home kitchens may not have poaching vessels large enough to accommodate a huge turkey.

After being poached, the turkey is roasted for only a short time the next day, which frees up the oven for other things. The turkey comes out of the oven with a crackling brown skin and impossible-to-believe tender meat. Bonus: you get turkey stock before you even eat the bird.

Read on for the recipe and directions for making this miracle turkey.




  1. Combine the duck demi-glace, carrots, onions and garlic in a stockpot large enough to hold the turkey. Fill it with water only half way up. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. While stock heats, rinse turkey and, starting at the neck, carefully separate the skin from the breast and upper thighs with your fingers, being careful not to tear the skin. Rub duck fat all over the outside, in between the skin and flesh. Truss the turkey. Note: This is not mandatory, but makes it easier to handle the bird later.
  3. When the stock begins to boil, generously season it with salt and pepper. Add turkey to pot and adjust heat so it simmers. Cover the pot with a lid and make sure the turkey is submerged. Simmer for 40 minutes, then remove the pot from heat and let the turkey slowly cool to room temperature in the broth, up to 4 hours. Refrigerate.
  4. The next day, preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Take the bird out of the pot, place it on a rack in a roasting pan and roast it in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off, leaving the bird inside for about an hour. Note: When you are ready to eat the main course, the bird will be perfectly cooked and nicely roasted. The leftover stock can be used as a wonderful base for soups.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. J B Cole says:

    After Step 3….do you leave the bird in the broth overnight or remove the bird from the stock then refrigerate??

    1. D'Artagnan says:

      Yes, leave the bird in the poaching liquid and once it’s cooled, put it all in the refrigerator

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