Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Turkey Thighs with Bacon, Tomatoes, and Porcini

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This started out as a Mark Bittman recipe, but I made a fair number of changes. It is really tasty:

Step 1: Take turkey thighs out of the fridge for 1-2 hours before you start so they can come to room temperature. If you use straight from fridge, it will significantly affect timing: this is a low-temperature recipe, so it takes a long time to warm up a slab of fridge-cold meat.

Step 2: About half an hour before you really get to work, mince the garlic and make the “preserved” lemons. – Mark Bittman “preserved” lemon: Wash 1 lemon, cut off the ends and discard, then slice into slabs and across the slabs to dice the lemon. Put it in a small bowl, add 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1.5 teaspoon sugar, stir, and let sit 20 minutes.

2-3 slices thick bacon—or you can use 5 oz diced pancetta; original recipe called for a slab of prosciutto (mine was 4 oz, about right), diced, and with the prosciutto you used 2 tablespoons olive oil to lightly brown the prosciutto. I’ve now tried all three and they’re all good. Diced pancetta for the next one.

2 turkey thighs, removed from fridge 1-2 hours before cooking; I’ve also used 2 turkey drumsticks with good success. And salt and pepper well just before you brown them.

The following ingredients, down through the garlic, are all added at the same time, so I suggest you use a large bowl and add the ingredients to that bowl as you prepare them.

• 3 cups chopped aromatic vegetables—for example, 1 cup chopped celery (about 2-3 stalks), 1 diced carrot, 1/2 cup chopped parsley, and 4 shallots chopped (or other allium such as: 1 big onion; or, 2 spring onions; or a large leek or 2 small leeks; or, 1-2 bunches of scallions).
• Optional: 3-4 mushrooms, chopped (optional because dried porcinis added later)
• 1/3 cup barley—pearled, hulled, or pot barley (steel-cut barley)
• 1 packet dried porcini mushrooms, broken into pieces
• 1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• 8-10 garlic cloves, chopped fine (do this early so the minced garlic can sit for 10-15 minutes)

• splash of sherry (Amontillado or Cream) to deglaze the pan

• good dash Red Boat fish sauce (optional but I always use: ups the umami; you could substitute 4-5 anchovy fillets (those that come in a jar, not a tin))
• 1 cup sliced cherry or grape tomatoes
• 1 cup good black olives, pitted (or not, but then be careful when you chew— I usually use Kalamata olives and I halve them: more olive per bite, and halving them detects pits)
• 1.5 tablespoon good horseradish (get it from the refrigerated section)
• 1 lemon “preserved” as described above
• 1-2 tablespoons vinegar (sherry, red wine, rice, whatever, though not balsamic, I think)

White wine, dry vermouth, water, red wine, or stock to almost cover veg. (I use white wine; original calls for red wine: to-may-to, to-mah-to.)

I tried my 10″ 4-qt All-Clad sauté pan and it worked fine, but note that the thighs sit fairly high. (Lid must fit tight for the oven cooking.) The most recent batch required the 10″ 6-qt All-Clad pot.

Get all the vegetables chopped and ready before you start—more chopping time required than I expected. And when you start putting the dish together, you do a series of steps and if you’re still prepping, it’s easy to get rattled and confused. Trust me.

Brown the bacon pieces (or diced pancetta; if using prosciutto, add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and brown the prosciutto in that). Remove browned pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Salt and pepper turkey thighs (or drumsticks) well on both sides. Brown the turkey in the bacon fat or olive oil, skin side first. Brown the skin side 5 minutes minimum without disturbing. The skin side should be well browned. Then flip and brown other side for 2 minutes. Remove turkey pieces to a bowl, plate, or pan.

At this point the pan may contain a lot of fat. Pour off fat to leave about 1-2 tablespoons in the pan. (Discard the excess fat.)

Preheat the oven to 250ºF.

Add chopped vegetables, rosemary, thyme, garlic, mushrooms, and barley to the oil in the pan. Stir vegetables as they sauté and season with salt and pepper as they cook.

When the vegetables are softened, deglaze the pan with a splash of sherry. Then add the tomatoes, olives, “preserved” lemon, and a good dash of Red Boat fish sauce if you have it. (If you don’t, rethink your priorities.)

Add liquid to almost (but not quite) cover the vegetables. (I generally use white wine or dry vermouth for this.)

Lay the turkey pieces, skin side up, on the vegetables and add the cooked bacon (or pancetta or prosciutto) on top of the thighs. Cover and cook in 250ºF oven for 4.5 hours (drumsticks) to 5 hours (thighs). Turkey meat should be falling off the bone.

Thighs: Use tongs to remove the two bones, and break up the meat with the edge of a spoon. Stir it all together.

Drumsticks: use a fork to pick off the meat (which will be tender and falling away from the bone), removing the small bones that are embedded in the meat around the main bone. Some of these are small, so pick carefully. You’ll quickly get the hang of it. Once all the little bones are out, remove the main bone, and then stir to locate small bones you missed. (Thighs are easier, obviously, but drumsticks are quite tasty.)

Garnish with chopped parsley (or perhaps minced chives) if you like and serve. This is incredibly tasty, as revised.

Turkey meat has little fat, thus the pork (bacon, pancetta, or prosciutto-and-olive oil) helps.

PS: I just had some sprinkled with coarsely grated Parmesan cheese, and I suddenly get the idea of grating some Parmesan over food as a finishing touch: umami! That’s why.

Written by Leisureguy

30 April 2017 at 4:52 pm

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