The tune Big Guy was singing yesterday afternoon was something like "Don't leave me to my own devices or I'll f... up the spices." Of course, that's after much haranguing from yours truly when I found out he'd put half a can of chipotle into our dinner entree but I was so wrong. I shouldn't have worried because he came through like gangbusters.
To celebrate my Canadian roots and Thanksgiving this weekend, turkey was an absolute must on the menu and while most of us think of a traditional roast turkey when we're planning our special dinner, I'm here to say there's a lot of other ways to enjoy this flavorful bird.
This recipe's inspired by one from Fine Cooking but instead of cooking lamb shanks, I thought the combination of chipotle along with cranberries would be a fabulous way to braise turkey thighs. Lucky me, because when Big Guy took over the kitchen yesterday, he kicked the whole thing up at least 10 notches.
He coated the turkey thighs in all purpose flour and browned them well in batches ...or as he says, "put a good dew on 'em", before removing them from the Dutch oven. Sauteed onion and garlic followed by a half bottle of a hearty red wine (Panilonco Merlot Malbec 2011 Reserve) then 12 ounces of frozen cranberries, chicken broth, honey and minced chipotles in adobe. Cumin, salt and pepper rounded out the spices and along with some chopped fresh kumquats from our trees, the turkey thighs were re-introduced to the pot.
Two glorious sweet smelling hours later, our special dinner was on the table and it was indeed special. The spicy smokey heat of the chipotle peppers is tamed significantly by the addition of honey combined with the tartness of the cranberries and hint of citrus from the kumquats. It resulted in a fabulous rich tasting sauce over the succulent turkey thighs and all of that along with creamy mashed spuds and roasted veggies ....well!
Quite honestly, if you're fans of Mexican mole, I know you'll love this because the flavor's quite similar. It's a winner, winner Big Guy dinner!
Chipotle Cranberry Braised Turkey Thighs (from JBug’s Kitchen inspired by Fine Cooking)
6 to 8 small turkey thighs including skin and bones
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and coarse ground black pepper
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 kumquats or half a tangerine, sliced and diced
3 to 6 tablespoons minced chipotles in adobo (depending on your spice tolerance)
2 teaspoons cumin
2 cups full bodied red wine (like Merlot Malbec)
2 cups fresh or frozen whole cranberries
1-1/2 cups chicken stock or more as needed
1/3 cup honey
Heat oil in a large cast iron Dutch oven over medium high. Meanwhile coat turkey thighs with flour and shake off excess. When oil is shimmering add turkey thighs and cook in batches until browned on all sides. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add onion and garlic to the pot and cook until softened, stirring occasionally. Add cumin and chipotles and stir to combine well. Add red wine, cranberries, chicken stock and honey and heat to boiling. Return turkey thighs to the pot.
Cover pot and place into a preheated 325 oven. Bake for 2 hours or until turkey thighs are very tender, adding stock as needed to maintain adequate liquid. Remove cover for last half hour of cooking to thicken sauce. Taste for seasoning adding salt/pepper as required. Serves 4 to 6.
A year ago - Cornish Pasties
Two year's ago - Beef Fajitas with Blackened Tomato Salsa