Turkey Parts Braised in Red Wine
4 to 6 servings
About 1 1/2 hours
This departure from the classic roast bird will have your guests first thinking that you're weird, and then thanking you. It's one of the few turkey dishes that I actually cook and serve throughout the rest of the year.
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 pounds turkey thighs or legs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups fruity red wine
1 ⁄ 4 cup red wine vinegar
3 whole cloves or a pinch ground
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1 piece orange peel (about 1 x 3 inches)
1. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Pat the turkey thighs dry with a paper towel. When the oil is hot, add the thighs to the pan; to avoid crowding the pan, work in batches if necessary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, undisturbed, until they release from the pan, 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary so the fat sizzles but the turkey doesn’t burn. Turn them, season the other side, and cook, turning and rotating the pieces every few minutes to brown them evenly all over, another 10 to 15 minutes. As the pieces finish, remove them from the pan. Carefully pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat and wipe out the pan with paper towels.
2. Put the pot back on the burner, turn the heat to medium, and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. When it’s hot, add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables soften, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour in the wine and turn the heat back up to medium-high. Bring the wine to a steady bubble and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Stir in the vinegar, cloves, bay leaf, rosemary, orange peel, and some salt and pepper. Add the thighs back to the pot, skin side up, turn the heat down to low, and cover. Adjust the heat so that the liquid bubbles very slowly.
3. Uncover the pot every 15 minutes to turn the turkey thighs and make sure the liquid is still bubbling and the pan doesn’t seem dry (if it does, add 1 ⁄ 4 cup water); replace the lid. After the turkey has cooked for 30 minutes, heat the oven to 200°F.
4. The turkey is done when a quick-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of one of the thighs measures 155–165°F. When it’s ready, transfer the thighs to an ovenproof platter and put it in the oven. Spoon the fat off the surface of the remaining liquid with a large spoon and raise the heat to high; let the liquid bubble vigorously until it has thickened slightly and reduced by about half—15 to 20 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning, spoon the wine sauce over the turkey, and serve.
Turkey Thighs Braised with Fresh and Dried Mushrooms
Before Step 1, put 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and cover them with hot water. Let them soak while you continue with Step 1. In Step 2, add 1 ⁄ 2 pound stemmed and sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms along with the other vegetables. When they have softened, remove the soaked dried mushrooms (be careful not to include the sediment that has gathered at the bottom), chop them roughly, and add them to the pot. Pour most of the soaking liquid into the pot, leaving the sediment in the bottom of the bowl. Continue with the recipe from Step 3.