Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Herby Turkey Leg Confit with Dragon Fruit, Pomegranate & Chili Gastrique and a Giveaway That You Really Need!

Look, I am not self-delusional. (Usually.) I realize that a big hunk of meat on a bone accompanied by a brownish sauce is not the world's loveliest food. I tried to plate it in an appealing way, I really did: That jaunty angle! The clever dots of gastrique! That cute green plate!

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!





39 comments:

  1. I can't enter the giveaway, but just want to give my two cents - despite what you say, I think you plated that up very prettily! Love the unusual medley of flavours too.

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  2. You had me at poached in 8 cups of butter. Holy crap - how could that be any thing but heart-stoppingly delicious?
    That bowl of oatmeal I am getting ready to eat is just going to seem underwhelming now...

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  3. Actually you are the only one that can make a turkey leg look marvelous! I love it... very tasty looking and as usual a medieval goddess would adorn her table with the likings of a hearty piece of meat, just amazing presentation here!

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  4. I'll take two legs please... interesting technique and I like your sauce with your choice of fruit, esp with the vinegar. I like how you add all at once instead of deglazing the sugar base which normally adds another step.

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  5. @Drick: Actually I was torn about which technique to use but I decided to toss it all in at once so that the chili would really infuse the sauce. (Also I am a bit of a klutz and was fairly certain that I would burn myself on molten sugar!)

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  6. Ghee wiz I hope I win this giveaway! If I won that case not only would I make this dish (fancy food always gives me gastrique) but I would probably also conjure up a nice cocktail with that dragon water....er...juice..

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  7. The dressing with dragon fruit juice is so yummy to go with the turkey leg, lovely presentation.

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  8. What a great recipe for the upcoming holiday, this looks so delicious! Lovely pictures! :)

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  9. You really nailed this recipe, it looks so tasty. I have always wanted to make confit and this is a delicious reminder. Great post!

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  10. How delicious this must be.You've really thrown temptation and curiosity my way.I simply have to try this. It sounds wonderful. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  11. Goodness that looks ridiculous. The depth here...mmm......

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  12. Tracey I've never seen a turkey leg look so fit for a king, a knife and a fork.

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  13. The jaunty angle presented by this photo is reason enough for us to take a bite. You played with a few styling tricks to keep us hungry. :) You're right about adding in as many healthy antioxidants as possible with our dishes. It's the holiday time, and we all need it!

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  14. I love turkey legs. I'm the fool you see eating them covered in grease. I am excited to try your recipe. It sounds like a great new twist!

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  15. I love that during this time of turkey overload you did something original and unexpected. GREG

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  16. Well. First of all...you had me at confit! How can something that's been bathing in fat and its own juices for so long be anything less than perfection? I actually bought a few extra legs this year to play with, and I'm thinking I may just have to confit a couple. Second...I have never in my life had dragon fruit (let alone the juice). I've never been able to find it around here. It sounds just lovely, especially with the coconut water. I'd love to try it. Third, I think the photos actually look super appetizing!

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  17. ...and I am also a follower... thanks again =)

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  18. Oh, this sounds amazing, Trix!!! I love duck confit (and I'm not a huge fan of duck), so turkey confit must be ultra tasty! And your food syling is fabulous...otherwise, I would not hear my stomach growling. Fun giveaway, too :)

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  19. And I'm off to tweet your giveaway~

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  20. Amazing presentation and I am absolutely loving the gastrique with dragot fruit, pomegranate and chili - such incredible combination of flavors! Not entering the giveaway as I'm about to receive samples of pitaya plus myself :)

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  21. I think the dish looks terrific! I'm impressed with this method of cooking turkey, and the combination of spices look really good. I also can't argue with meat cooked in butter.

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  22. I love turkey in black pepper sauce but yours look so tempting and delicious. Beautiful photos too. I'm following you. Have a nice day.

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  23. I've just recently become interested in dragon fruit, and I'd love to try it in juice form! Good luck to the other entrants as well. :)

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  24. Awwww...I love this one. I am a big lover of turkey legs. I buy them every week. I bake them to eat and also to make soup. I really like the way how you make yours and the presentation is just beautiful. I would never have thought about using a green plate but it actually looks really nice here. I am still bad in food presentation. Must keep learning :P

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  25. I really love this dish and the gastrique is the perfect touch of acidity and sweetness to cut the fat (however, let's face it...who wants to cut the fat in this gem...yummo)

    On to the Pitaya, this seems like a really cool product. I'm hesitant because of the coconut water. While my husband and I were traveling the west coast this summer he lived off the stuff and I HATED it. I kept trying to like it. I think if it is mixed with other lovely fruits I would enjoy it.

    Great dish and the photos are great too!

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  26. Fab...these look absolutely fab. I did game hens for our Thanksgiving last year, which included doing a confit of the "teeny-tiny" legs as a garnish. They were the best part of the whole meal.

    Yours is a bigger, and much better, idea! Theresa

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  27. Oh my this sounds fabulous for this coming thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing. Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family. Enjoy & have a great time.
    Blessings, Kristy

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  28. I must be a real carnivore cause I find the meat pic hot! Ah love the Pitaya Plus juice, got a sampling too.

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  29. I'm not entering the giveaway as I am in Canada-land, but wanted to let you know that the pomegranate and chili gastrique sounds amazing.

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  30. Who needs food styling when you have TASTE?

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  31. I think it looks fantastic...plus I know because it's you that it would taste fantastic and that is #1 :) Love this juice and have some in my fridge as we speak, or I guess I am speaking :)
    Hope you are well

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  32. Miss Trix, I LOVE this pic of the leg. Sooo artsy. All your pics are fantastic. I'll mos def take 2legs please. Yum-town and then some.

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  33. Dear Trix, I didn't read the post just ogled at the photos. Just kidding :) Well you say that the styling isn't good but it still has my mouth watering, so you did something right. Turkey legs are one of my favorite big chucks of meat to eat and I'm so making this. Good luck to the giveaway participants.

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  34. Trixie, if this is your idea of sucky food styling, then there's very little hope for the rest of us! I agree with the rest of the commenters here, this turkey dish looks so ridiculously good and original that it truly belongs on your restaurant menu, not just on this blog. Hope you and Poppa had a wonderful Thanksgiving and sorry I missed all the festivities :).

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