Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Braised Turkey Thighs in Indian Spices

Turkey is an underused poultry except during Thanksgiving.  It is usually served whole and roasted in the oven, but one of my favorite ways to cook turkey is to braise it.  Slowly simmering the meat in the oven will give it a fork tender texture and allow the meat to absorb the flavors of its sauce.

This recipe braises turkey thighs with spices common in Indian cooking including cumin, coriander and turmeric.  Turkey isn't a common meat used in Indian cuisine, but flavoring the meat in this slow simmering manner works well.  Add onions, white beans, spinach and greek yogurt to the mixture and the recipe creates a nice one pot meal that can serve up to 4 people.

Servings: 3-4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours
Active Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Special Tools:  Dutch Oven or Large Cast Iron Pot


2 Turkey Thighs
Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion chopped
4 Garlic Cloves chopped
1 inch Ginger chopped
2 Teaspoons Cumin
2 Teaspoons Ground Coriander
2 Teaspoons Turmeric
1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
4 Cups Chicken Broth (more as needed)
15 oz Can White Beans
5-6 oz Baby Spinach
1/3 Cup Greek Yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Season the turkey thighs with salt and freshly ground pepper. In a large Dutch Oven or cast iron pot, place the vegetable oil over high heat.  Add the the turkey to the pot and brown the meat on all sides (about 8-10 minutes).  Remove the turkey thighs and set aside.

Add the onions to the pot and cook stirring frequently until the onions are soft and translucent (about 8 minutes).  Add the garlic & ginger and stir-fry for another 2 minutes.  Add the cumin, ground coriander, turmeric and cayenne pepper and stir-fry until fragrant (about 1 minute).  Pour in the chicken broth and white beans.  Return the turkey thighs to the pot.  If the turkey thighs are not completely submerged, add more chicken broth.   Cover the pot tightly and place in the oven to cook for 1.5 hours or until the thighs are fully cooked and soft enough to cut with a fork.  Note: check the pot after an hour to make sure 3/4 of the thighs remains submerged.  If it looks too dry, add more broth.

Return the pot to the stove top. Remove the turkey from the sauce and set aside.  Stir-in the spinach until wilted.  Stir-in the Greek yogurt until well combined.  Return the turkey thighs to the pot and reheat  to warm if necessary.   Serve with a side of crusted bread or Basmati rice.

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