Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Apple Braised Turkey Thighs

A few weeks ago on a weekend, I was flipping channels on the TV, feeling lazy, when I got sucked into a cooking show on PBS. The woman hosting the show was making Apple Braised Turkey Thighs. It looked so wonderful that I went to find it online and finally got a chance to make it last night.

• 1 Tb EVO
• 2 turkey thighs (about 2 lbs total)--I couldn't find thighs so I used wings
• coarse salt and ground pepper
• 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
• 4 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, quartered, and cored
• 2 cups apple cider
• 14.5 oz low sodium chicken broth--Since I wasn't totally prepared and didn't have chicken broth, I used some Bisto I bought from a local Scottish shop.
• 2 tsp cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high. Season turkey on
both sides with salt and pepper and add to pot, skin side down. Cook until skin is golden and crisp, about
8 minutes. My God, it started to smell good almost immediately.

Transfer turkey to a plate and add shallots to pot. Cook until shallots soften, about 5 minutes. Add
apples and cook slightly softened, about 5 minutes. I've never had a reason to cook with shallots before. They are almost a cross between small onions and garlic cloves. When they started to soften, they took on the consistency of carmelized onions.

Return turkey, skin side up, to pot; add cider and broth. Bring to a boil, cover, then place pot in oven. Cook 1½ hour. Uncover; cook 30 minutes more. The entire house started to fill with an aroma (not just a scent or a smell) of roasted turkey, but this incredible combination of turkey, shallots and apples. I've never made ANYTHING that smelled that damn good.

Remove pot from oven and transfer turkey to a plate. Skim fat from cooking liquid and stir in vinegar. I didn't see much of a reason for the addition of the vinegar but I did it anyway. I'll probably leave it out though, the next time.

Slice meat off bones (discard bones) and serve turkey with apples and pan sauce.

This was the first time I braised anything and it was remarkably easy. The turkey did take on a beautiful golden brown color before it all went into the oven.

The only things I would do differently is reduce the amount of broth and cider by maybe using 1/2 cup less of each. On the cooking show, the apples really almost mashed themselves because they baked so soft in the oven and her sauce was truly more of a sauce with the apples. Mine was more of a broth still. When I put away the leftovers, I still had about 5 cups of the broth left. I couldn't just bring myself to toss it, so I stuck it in the freezer to become part of a soup base later on. :)

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