Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Slow Cooker Turkey Legs

Okay, I have to admit that I was fairly apprehensive about preparing turkey legs. They are the item most requested to be omitted from the CSA shares by a long shot. I figured that without careful preparation and slowly confitting for a full 24 hours they would be tough and dry. Boy was I wrong. This meal couldn't have been easier or tastier, or sleep inducing. Thanks tryptophan!

Fall off the bones amazingness right there.
I did some research aka Googling and checking Pinterest for recipes. I decided to follow this recipe and the comments on it as a guide. 
Start by rinsing and drying off your turkey legs. This is a good time to look for any feather roots that might be lingering around if you plan on eating the skin. And I highly suggest eating the skin. Rub the legs with extra virgin olive oil (or butter, or duck fat, or coconut oil, etc.) and season generously with salt, pepper, and whatever fresh or dried herbs you want. I used poultry herbs (rosemary, sage, and thyme) and 2 cloves of garlic. Don't just put the seasonings on top, make sure that legs are coated. Place in your slow-cooker of choice and drizzle with some more olive oil - I used 2-3 tablespoons for the two legs.

Oiled up pre herb-rubbed turkey.
Dice up some veggies or potatoes if you want and add to the crock pot. I used 3 carrots, 2 celery stalks, and 7 boiler onions but you can use whatever you like with turkey or just cook the turkey by itself.

The turkey and veggies all snuggled up for a "nap".
If you are adding veggies to the slow cooker add whatever takes the longest to cook first and so on. I put my carrots in first, then the celery, and the onions on top of the turkey so they would cook down less.

Turkey with a blanket of onions.
Turn on your crock pot to low heat or put your turkey legs in a low heat oven, 200ish degrees and go about your day.

After an hour of cooking.
I took a shower and got ready for work and took this^ picture before heading out. I started cooking the turkey legs at 6:30am with plans to have dinner around 6:30pm.

11.5 hours later.
If I had had more time to put into this meal I would have either put the veggies in much later in the cooking process or cooked more vegetables separately because I like my cooked veggies way more al dente. They tasted amazing, but all that slow cooking and olive oil did make them super tender, almost like a chunky vegetable gravy. The other thing that ended up super tender and moist were turkey legs. Seriously, the bones just slid right out.  

Dinner is served. 
Since the veggies were stewed down so much we decided to serve them and the tender turkey legs over mashed cauliflower to sop up some of the juices. I'm trying to be a little healthier so I figured the carrots were plenty enough starch; potatoes would have been great too though. If you want me to post my mashed cauliflower recipe let me know. They're amazing. I swear you won't miss the potatoes.
Please note the white tendons in the turkey legs in the very center of the picture. 
If you look closely at this picture, you'll see a few white tendons running parallel to the bone. They are a product of the happy lives our turkeys live on the farm that Alec mentioned in the last post. Unfortunately, no amount of brining or slow cooking is going to soften them up. Just take care to pull them out as you eat. The turkey legs will be so tender from the slow and low love they got all day that this won't be difficult or time consuming. I promise that this very easy recipe will make pulling those tendons out worth it. Be prepared for Thanksgiving-like drowsiness after. I forgot to turn my crock-pot off for 3 nights after... The house smelled amazing all weekend!

Good luck with your turkey legs and wings!
-Nina, the master of none


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