Season’s greetings as the Year of the Snake, 2001, prepares to slither in. By this time of year, some of us have eaten so much turkey in so many guises that we’d gladly throttle the next bird we see and pray for a fowl-free New Year. Banish the thought! Before you curse the very mention of roast fowl, be it turkey, chicken, goose, duck or whatever, consider how wine with innovative white-meat and dark-meat dishes can brighten your palate, and your day.
Today my focus is an original dish ideal with turkey dark-meat, although beef, bear, bison, venison or ostrich might do. I recommend hefty chunks of dark-meat turkey, turkey legs, or turkey cut for osso buco.
Turkey, America’s national bird in commercial terms, lends itself to more culinary artistry than you can shake a drumstick at. With intolerable immodesty I submit this recipe — Stewed Dark-Meat Turkey a la Barrager,
With it, you need a flavorful medium- to full-bodied red that can stand up to the rich, robust flavor of this hearty dish. Consider Chateauneuf du Pape, Cahor, Rousillon or Spanish Rioja, Italian Montepulciano de Abruzzo, Austrian Blauburgunder and Zweigelt, Slovenian Refrosk, Croatian Dingac and full-flavored reds from California and Australia. Don’t overthink it; just get a sturdy red.
This dish is easy to make and you needn’t stand over it like a hawk. It’s a very low-maintenance dish.
Skin removed, the meat is browned in a pot in sesame oil and then simmered at very low heat in a roux containing vegetable bouillon, abundant garlic, coarsely milled peppercorns, a few splats of Japanese soy sauce, Hungarian paprika (hot or mild, as you like), several drops of Tabasco (the red-pepper nonpareil) and — this is essential — a hefty dollop or two of thick, rich Heinz barbecue sauce.
Phew! Have I forgotten anything? Yes! The wine! It’s absolutely essential to this recipe. Use any of the reds mentioned above or a similar full-bodied red: at least half a cup per serving. Skip so-called cooking wines, the vinous version of sandwich bread. They’re irrelevant. Never cook with wine you wouldn’t be glad to drink.
Let all this simmer at very low heat all day, turning the meat every 30 or 40 minutes and taste-testing.
This one’s a honey, believe me. Exultant dinner guests of mine insist it is a winner. Women who wouldn’t otherwise have looked sideways at me are ringing my phone off the hook to get my recipe . . . OK, I’ve overstated it, but you get the idea: Turkey is good stuff.
Then, too, as an ancient sage once said, it’s hard to soar with the eagles if you’re tied down to a lot of turkeys. Wine helps a lot.
Cheers! Bon appetit! Warmest best regards for the New Year.