Smoked turkey legs were all the rage a few years back, and still turn up at some festivals.
Braising them can be even more fun than smoking them, and more practical in the dead of winter. The drawback to braising poultry rather than smoking it is that would have to take care to get the skin crispy. This (as we have discussed before) is most easily accomplished by cooking them in an open pot, with as much of the skin above the liquid as possible.
For a while, now, I’ve been thinking I should try smoking turkey after marinating it in tandoori paste, but went with this braise when inspiration struck on a day that was not particularly grill friendly.
It is my usual practice, when I make braises, to use the liquid as a sauce. In this case, I let the marinated meat stand on its own and held on to the liquid for a second dish – you’ll have to tune in tomorrow if you want to find out what that wound up being.
You will also note that I did not bother trying to brown the turkey. I took one look at the drumsticks, with their curvy shape, and decided the time that I would have spent getting grease burns while cursing the meat for not lying flat against the pan would be better spent watching television. The oven browned the skin just fine.
I served this with coconut rice and sliced cucumbers in a ginger-mint sauce. The ginger-mint sauce is still a work in progress. I’ll get it to where I can post it eventually.
Tandoori-spiced Braised Turkey Legs
- 6 turkey legs
- 3-4 large spoonfuls of tandoori paste (As long as my supply of Patak’s holds up, I expect I will continue to be too lazy to make my own.)
- Rice vinegar
- Olive oil
- 2 onions, sliced lengthwise
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 bay leaf
Place the turkey legs in a large Ziploc bag with three or four spoonfuls of tandoori paste. Thin the paste with some vinegar and olive oil, seal the bag and jostle it until the marinade covers the meat. Refrigerate for at least two hours (three or four would be even better), picking up the bag and jostling it every half-hour or so.
In a pot wide enough to hold the turkey in a single layer (like this one), melt a pat of butter in a little oil and sweat the onions. Add the bay leaf and garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. Place the turkey in the pot and pour in the marinade with enough water to come one-third to one-half of the way up the sides of the turkey legs.
Cook for about an hour, checking to make sure the skin doesn’t burn, then drop heat to 325. Cook for a total of two hours.
Remove and serve.
Reserve the liquid for the recipe in tomorrow's post.