a home cook with notions & an appetite
Turkey isn’t always for Thanksgiving, right? And it isn’t just some ground meat you use try to convince yourself is indistinguishable from ground beef in chili, meatloaf or tacos. (For the record, I don’t try to tell that tale, I just try to go for great flavor.) When I do get a good bargain on legs, though, I wanted to make a nice Saturday night dinner. This is an Osso-Bucco like treatment that fits the bill.
I originally found a recipe on chefs.com and modified the recipe a bit both to fit what I had on hand and to ensure that I’d get maximum flavor in the dish. Here’s what I went with:
Veg prep was short and sweet – and rustic. I don’t think anyone is ever going to accuse me of having amazing knife skills (secretly, I want to be like this guy):
While I’m chopping the vegetables, I’ve preheated the oven to 350 degrees. I’ve also prepped the turkey legs. And by “prep,” I mean salted and peppered these legs:
Even though I’m preheating the oven, there’s still some work to do on the stovetop. Over medium-high heat, I brown the legs on all sides in a tablespoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven. This takes about 2 minutes per side on the leg. This leaves a nice flavorful fat/oil in the pan to prep the vegetables:
The original recipe mentioned that the onions should already be cooked, so I opted to cook the onions, carrots and turnips for 5 minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes and juices, garlic and seasonings to the pan for another 5 minutes. Just enough to get a lot of flavor in the pan. The liquid comes to a boil very quickly, but you don’t want it to boil off. After turning the burner off, I added the turkey legs back to the mixture and covered the my Dutch oven so it could go in the preheated oven for an hour and 10 minutes. After all that time, I had falling-off-the-bone tender turkey legs and very flavorful veggies.
Just before the turkey was done and while the legs cooled a bit, I made a quick polenta. Nothing too fancy. When the meat was cool enough to handle, I removed the skin and took off all the meat from the bone, being careful to make sure that I was also removing the tendons:
Once this was done, I reunited the shredded turkey meat and veggies and rewarmed them for less than 5 minutes over medium heat. Unlike a real Osso Bucco, I didn’t have all of this great natural gelatin that made a naturally thick sauce, so my sauce was a bit, thin, but over polenta it was plenty tasty. Next time you see turkey legs in the grocery with a $3 off! sticker, you now know the answer to the question of “what else would I do besides roasting them and pretending I’m having a Renaissance Fair?”