I know I said I was going to take some time off, but I missed you! Did you miss me? I so enjoyed a stew we made last night that I just had to share it. I hope you find it as delicious as we did.
Do you have a favorite chef? I grew up loving Julia Child, for her easy manner and even more for introducing me to Jacques Pepin, who thereafter has taken his seat at the top of the pyramid and has yet to be dethroned by anyone else. If I met him in person, I think I might faint straight away; seeing as I now live only one town over from him, this has become a distinct possibility for which I’m prepared.
I’ve blogged before about my adoration of Monsieur Pepin. My obsession recently was taken into a new stratosphere after receiving his new cookbook from the library.
Essential Pepin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food by Jacques Pépin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This encyclopedic cookbook is my new favorite dinner companion. Recently I found very affordable post-Thanksgiving cuts of turkey at Whole Foods, so on a whim I bought a few. Upon arriving at home I immediately turned to M. Pepin’s masterpiece, confident that he would have the answer for how to cook them. My instinct was right on the money. In fact, he even says as an introduction, “After Thanksgiving, turkey parts are available for very little money at the supermarket.” I also agree with him that his dark turkey fricassee is a “perfect (stew) for cold weather.” I included my adaptation of the recipe below, with my own intermittent commentary in italics.
Thanks to Rachael Ray, I always grab a meal’s necessary components prior to cooking. The list of ingredients is manageable, and apart from the sundried tomatoes, we already had everything in our cupboards.
[N.B.: A boning or paring knife would be an appreciated tool in the task of removing the skin. I do not have either, so I spent many a curse-filled minute hacking away with a steak knife. I’m quite glad no one was there to witness the spectacle, as they surely would proclaim the moment un-Pepin-like.]
2 large turkey legs, skin removed [dark-meat chicken is fine too]
3 Tbs. peanut oil [I used canola]
3 c. diced onions
4 c. water
6-8 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
2 Tbs. ginger, peeled and minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 c. brown rice [I used a tasty Texmati royal blend with wild rice]
1 c. sun-dried tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 c. fresh or frozen baby peas
First you’ll want to cut the thigh and drumstick apart and cut each leg into approximately 3 to 5 pieces to ensure even cooking. Heat oil over med-high heat in a Dutch oven and add half the turkey in one layer; brown on all sides for about 20 minutes. Transfer to a plate and continue with remaining turkey. Remove to plate.
Preheat oven to 350 degF. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the onions for 10 minutes. Return the turkey to the pot, add the ingredients through tomatoes, and stir well. Bring to a boil and cover. Cook in the oven for an hour or on the stove-top over low heat for about an hour and 10 min., or until all the liquid is absorbed and the ingredients are tender. Stir in the peas and cook for a few minutes.