Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Turkey and more turkey

A few days ago, I decided to make braised turkey legs. I'm pretty sure I've posted about that here before, specifically about my hesitance to use the phrase "turkey osso buco," which I've seen applied to similar recipes. Publix didn't have turkey legs, so I wound up getting them from Gino's, an Italian market on Johnson Street. I luckily got the last two turkey legs that they had. Apparently things are tough all over as far as turkey is concerned. I had one of the butchers there saw each leg in half , leaving me with two small drumstick-sized pieces and two softball-sized bulbs of turkey and bone. All four pieces were browned in olive oil and the rendered fat from some diced pancetta in my dutch oven and then braised with carrots, celery, onion, garlic, tomato paste, chicken broth and about a cup of red wine.

I finally got around to visiting Hollywood Vine, our neighborhood wine shop. I told the guy I wanted an inexpensive red that I could braise with and also enjoy drinking. Previously I've always used inexpensive sangiovese reds like Monte Antico. He suggested a Spanish red, Casamaro. I had a taste and at $12, it was the winner.

Really, an osso buco comparison really isn't that off base for this dish. The dark turkey meat does have similar qualities to veal shanks in color and richness. The turkey legs also have that thin sheath of fat that veal shanks do. Plus there's the whole marrow-infused-sauce thing. After a few hours of braising on the stovetop (Renee was going to use the oven for a cake), I pulled the turkey legs and served them with mashed Yukon Gold potatoes that I'd whipped with heavy cream infused with a good crumble of cheap Goya saffron. I figure if I'm making a cheap osso buco I can make a risotto milanese stand-in as well, right?

The following day, I had an enormous bowl of turkey legs and thick, gelatinous broth. I decided to try to replicate a dish I'd had with duck several years ago. I spooned out a cup or so of the cooking liquid, heated it, strained it and then reduced it by about half. I then steamed some broccoli rabe and set it aside. I reheated some turkey meat, pulled it from the bone and set that aside as well. I then threw everything in a large pan, heated it gently and tossed it with some penne pasta and lots of little chunks of gorgonzola. It wasn't identical to the dish I remembered, but it was quite good.