Monday, February 22, 2010

A drumstick that is bang on

You know how, some days, when you wake up and it's sunny out your window and your child is smiling and you don't overflow the oatmeal and you think -- it's going to be a perfect day.

I haven't had one of those in a very long while. Most certainly, not today.

I won't go into the specifics, except to say it involves a five-year-old, a screwdriver and a piano.

I already want to go back to bed.

On days like these, when it's cold out and there's snow lingering and more on the way, there is only one thing I like for dinner.


And luckily I have some. This is a recipe adapted from a Food and Wine spa issue long ago, one of those January issues which are mindful of the after-holiday thrift but also well aware that it is darn still winter and people do want to eat. And drink.

It uses turkey drumsticks, which make brilliant party fare. They plate up large and impressive, like a medieval banquet. They are oh so tasty delicious and -- bonus -- they are cheap. And this recipe can be made up to three days ahead, so you can enjoy your company, not just cook for them. I serve the stew over polenta, made with Bob's Red Mill grains  just as he suggests on the packet, and a simple salad. Oh, and I always double it, for just such occasions as today. For as lovely as it is for dinner, it is thrice as good on the morrow, when you haven't anything to do at all but put your feet up and Enjoy.  

Turkey  Stew with Prunes and Pearl Onions
adapted from Food and Wine

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 turkey drumsticks (about 14 ounces each)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
4 thyme sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
3 cups home made turkey or chicken stock, or store bought will do
1 cup pitted prunes (6 ounces)
1/2 cup brandy
1 cup white pearl onions (1/4 pound)

Preheat the oven to 325°. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole. Saute turkey drumsticks, seasoned with salt and pepper, over moderately high heat until browned all over, about 8 minutes; transfer to a plate. Do in turns if your pot necessitates. Discard the fat.

Add the wine to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom, until reduced to 1/2 cup. Tie the herbs with string, add to the pot with the drumsticks and stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and braise in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, turning the drumsticks occasionally, so they get coated with sauce.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, soak the prunes in the brandy until plump, about 30 minutes. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the pearl onions and blanch for 2 minutes, then drain and let cool slightly. Trim the root ends of the onions and slip off the skins. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a small skillet. Add the pearl onions and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the onions, prunes and any remaining brandy to the casserole. Cover and braise for 1 hour longer, or until the turkey drumsticks are tender.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the turkey, prunes and pearl onions to a platter. Discard the herb bundle. Skim the fat off the cooking liquid, then simmer the liquid over moderate heat until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 30 minutes. Return the turkey, prunes and onions to the casserole, simmer until hot and serve.

If you care, per serving:  503 calories, 9.0 gm total fat, 2.1 gm saturated fat, 34 gm carb.

As with all food, try to find naturally raised birds; the nutritional content will be better, toxins lesser. If you don't have a source, look to But don't fret about it. The recipe is quite healthy any way.


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