Wild turkey tastes superb, but as successful tom hunters know, the legs and thighs can be tough if not properly prepared. To make them melt-in-your-mouth tender, you can’t go wrong with this easy-to-prepare recipe. And as a bonus, it also works well with duck or goose.
2 turkey legs and thighs, separated (4 pieces)
1 cup flour, seasoned with salt and black pepper to taste
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 28-ounce can roma tomatoes
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken stock
4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried)
4 bay leaves
Salt and black pepper, to taste
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, minced
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Dredge legs and thighs in seasoned flour, then brown in olive oil over medium heat in a heavy stew pot. Add carrot, celery, onion and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes or until onion is soft, stirring occasionally.
Add tomatoes, wine, stock, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper. The liquid should just cover the ingredients; add more stock if necessary.
Cover pot with lid or tinfoil and braise in oven for 3 hours. Remove lid for last half-hour, allowing liquid to reduce. Add more salt and pepper, if desired.
Garnish with parsley, and serve with your favourite short pasta, garlic mashed potatoes or crusty bread.
Braising Basics: Long, slow cooking in the oven will tenderize the toughest of cuts—not just turkey legs and thighs. As with this recipe, lightly flour the meat, then brown it on all sides over medium heat. In a pan, cover the meat with a stock, wine and vegetable mixture; tomatoes add a pleasant acidity to the sauce. The length of braising time will depend on the cut of meat. For a particularly tasty braised treat, try venison osso bucco instead of the traditional veal shank version.
For the Glass
This wild poultry dish goes well with a medium-bodied beer or Barolo wine.