But I realize this is not my finest food styling hour. I hope though - I really, really, really hope - that just this once you won't eat with your eyes first. Because this is seriously the very best turkey dish I have ever had, and Poppa Trix felt the same way. And we do not use superlatives lightly.
What could possibly not be good about this? We are talking about meat that has been cured, seasoned, and slowly poached in butter, after all! It's salty and juicy, redolent of sage and rosemary and thyme, and the meat is so tender it literally falls off of the bone and melts in your mouth.
For the gastrique, I used sugar, pomegranate vinegar, Pitaya Plus Dragon Fruit juice, and a hot chili, creating the perfect punch of tangy sweet heat to cut through all that fat. Things like "confit" and "gastrique" may sound terribly fancy, but they're very simple techniques, and if you're looking for a bridge between the traditional and something a little different this Thanksgiving, may I humbly suggest this?
Ah, but wait: I said something about a giveaway, didn't I? A while back, the folks at Pitaya Plus sent me a case of their dragon fruit juice to check out. (There was no obligation for a positive review, or any review at all.) I really like their company's philosophy. They get all their fruit from small family-owned farms in Nicaragua and work to help them get organically certified, they employ single mothers from the region and pay them above minimum wage, they operate one of the only solar powered facilities in Central America, and they're working on getting Fair Trade certification.
That's all great, but this is a food blog, right? Their pitaya - aka dragon fruit - juice has a touch of coconut water and lemon, with no added sugar. I really like that it's not too sweet, and it's packed with fiber, vitamin D, and antioxidants. I don't know about you, but around this time of year I can use all the antioxidants I can get! It's currently available in select Whole Foods and health food stores in the U.S., but one lucky Tasty Trix reader will get a entire case of this good stuff shipped right to their door. I'll share the details at the end of this post.
In the meantime, here's how to make this dish.
Herby Turkey Confit with Pomegranate, Dragon Fruit, & Chili Gastrique
For the turkey confit:
2 turkey legs
10 -15 sage leaves
2 heaping tablespoons rosemary leaves
leaves from 2-3 thyme sprigs
kosher salt, to cover the legs
8 cups clarified butter or ghee
Grind together the herbs and press into the turkey legs. Rub a generous amount of salt all over the legs and place in a glass dish, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees fahrenheit. Rinse the salt off of the turkey legs, pat dry, and place in a Dutch oven or similar container. Cover with the clarified butter or ghee - they must be completely submerged. Heat on the stovetop until the first bubble appears and immediately take off of the heat and place in the oven. Allow to cook for 3 hours. The meat should be tender and falling off of the bone. Store overnight (or longer, as the turkey should keep a very long time in the solid fat) in the butter and when you're ready to serve gently reheat the butter until melted, fry the legs to crisp the skin, and cook in a 350 degree oven until warmed through.
For the gastrique:
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 shallot, minced
6 tablespoons sugar
1 cup Pitaya Plus Dragon Fruit juice
1/2 cup pomegranate vinegar
1 Serrano or Thai chili, roughly chopped, with seeds
pinch of salt
In a small saucepan, saute the shallot in the butter until translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil and lower the heat to simmer until it thickens - about 20 -30 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Taste and adjust sugar/vinegar levels as necessary. These components should be well balanced, with a subtle, lingering heat from the chili for depth.
I love that there's really not a lot of active time with this dish - you can increase the number of turkey legs (and the other ingredients, of course) to feed a whole Thanksgiving crowd and have most of the work done ahead of time. And there is zero chance that your turkey will be dry. Zero.
On to the giveaway. To win a case of this good-for-you and delicious juice:
1. Leave a comment on this post demonstrating that you read it and didn't just look at the pictures
2. Tweet the giveaway, and come back and tell me you did.
3. Follow the blog, or, if you already do, remind me in your comment!
That's it - three easy-peasy chances to win. I am so sorry to my lovely international readers, but (just this once!) the giveaway is only open to U.S. residents. I will choose the winner via Random.org the week after Thanksgiving, just when you need a little healthy boost the most!