What to do with Turkey Thighs
I was in a rush at the market and accidentally picked up turkey thighs. What should I do with them?
put them in a pot with a quartered onion, 5 or 6 lightly smashed cloves of garlic, cumin, 2 bay leaves, and pureed rehydrated dried ancho chiles(plus hotter ones to your taste) or a can of chipotles in adobo. Add the juice of 2 limes, 1 orange, and water to cover. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer and cover until turkey is tender. Remove from liquid and let cool. Remove and discard(or puree with hand blender, minus bay leaves) other solids in the pot and turn the light back on to reduce the cooking liquid until it thickens.
When meat is cool, use your fingers to shred turkey meat. Remove the cooking liquid from the pot, reserving 1/2 cup or so. Heat a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil in the pot. Add shredded turkey meat and allow to brown and stick in places to the pan. Add reserved cooking liquid, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with warmed tortillas, black beans, green or red sauce, avocado, sliced radishes, cilantro, whatever else you like. Also great with chilaquiles, in a quesadilla, or as a tamale filling with rajas.
turkey molé poblano is also really good, if you have the time and ingredients.
I love using them in either a curry (use a lamb recipe) or marinating and grilling them tandoori-style. Either way, bone the thighs, then cut up for curry or marinate whole in a tandoori marinade. Absolutely delicious.
An easy way is to roast them low & slow. Season, set on a bed of roughly chopped onion & garlic (a sliced lemon or orange is nice too. Sprinkle with red wine or a little balsamic and roast around 325 until falling apart tender. The leftover can then be shredded to use in tacos, casseroles, salads, etc. A note: if they are really big honkers I start at 450 for about 20 minutes, then down to 300- the initial high heat heats them thru and then the lower temp seems to get them evenly cooked. They are very forgiving- anywhere from 2 to 4 hours depending on oven & size.
I buy small fresh turkey when they are on sale at the holidays and cut them into parts and freeze individually to use here and there. The thighs are my favorites though. Here are a couple more ideas for you:
It is really easy to cut the bone out, open it up a little flatter with a knife and stuff with something. Ham and cheese, spinach and feta, whatever you have on hand. One of my favorites is to do a mushroom duxelles stuffing, flavored with a little madeira and bound with a dizzle of heavy cream, roast it and do a simple pan sauce with a little more madeira or white wine and stock.
Turkey is wonderful with Mexican mole sauce. Either make your own or buy a good one, remove the skin, pour over the sauce and bake.
Although this isn't something you'll probably want to do this time of year, I sometimes use a thigh to make a mini, off-season "Thanksgiving" meal. I season the thigh well, make a mound of bread stuffing and the thigh on top. Really easy.
I have also braised turkey thighs in sort of an "osso bucco" style, using white wine, and garnishing with gremolata. It works really well.