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:

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.

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 or hulled.
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) (optional and I usually don’t use)
good dash Red Boat fish sauce (optional but I usually use)
1 cup sliced cherry or grape tomatoes
1 cup good black olives, pitted (or not, but then be careful when you chew)
1 packet dried porcini mushrooms, broken into pieces
1 lemon “preserved” the Mark Bittman way (see below)
1-2 tablespoons vinegar (sherry, red wine, rice, whatever, though not balsamic, I think)

White wine, 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 sauté pan and it worked fine, but note that the thighs sit fairly high. (Lid must fit tight for the oven cooking.) As noted above, remove thighs from the fridge 1-2 hours before cooking so they can come to room temperature.

Get all the vegetables chopped and ready before you start—more chopping time required than I expected.

Brown the bacon pieces (or diced pancetta; if using prosciutto, add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and brown the prosciutto in that). Remove browned pork 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 will 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, and barley (along with the optional mushrooms) to the pan. (I often skip the mushrooms.) You can deglaze the pan with a splash of sherry but it is probably not needed; I no longer use it. Stir vegetables and season with salt and pepper as you cook. When they’re softened, add the tomatoes, the olives, the dried porcini, the “preserved” lemon, and a good dash of Red Boat fish sauce if you have it.

Add liquid to almost (but not quite) cover the vegetables. (I use white wine 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 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.

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.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 April 2017 at 4:52 pm

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