- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 7, 2006

For turkey-loving smaller households, November can be cruel. This is the month when supermarkets advertise gargantuan birds fit for a crowd.

What’s a Two’s Company household to do? The answer is in the parts.

This is also the season when stores are most likely to sell turkey parts — breast, thigh and drumstick — to augment the whole bird. You don’t have to buy a turkey thigh to supplement the entree to take advantage of the smaller portions available.

If you want to serve a roast, I recommend turkey breast. Bone-in breasts weigh about 4 to 7 pounds, giving you enough for dinner and a couple of days of salads or sandwiches. You can also roast drumsticks, allowing one large drumstick for two servings.

Turkey thighs, however, are the better choice for soups and stews. The rich dark meat goes well with a wide range of seasonings. The thigh meat has enough fat to stand up to longer simmering without getting dry or tough.

If you want to prepare a turkey dish in a slow cooker, I’d recommend using turkey thigh meat.

The following stew recipe pays homage to the full flavor of the turkey thigh. The ingredient list calls for boned and skinned thigh meat. If you can’t find this in the poultry section, follow the note at the end of the recipe and do the boning yourself. To make this recipe again after the Thanksgiving season, switch to the chicken thigh option.

Southwestern turkey stew

1 turkey thigh, skinned, boned and cut into bite-size chunks or 4 large skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size chunks

2 tablespoons flour

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 large shallot, chopped

1 medium poblano chili, cored, seeded and finely chopped

1 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

1 14- to 15-ounce can hominy, drained

teaspoon medium chili powder

1 bay leaf

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced

Place turkey in a bag with flour, salt and pepper to taste. Shake well to coat turkey. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed skillet.

Add turkey chunks and brown over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes per side. Remove turkey.

Add garlic, shallot and chili to the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes or until chile is tender. Add tomatoes and scrape up any browned bits in skillet. Stir in hominy, chili powder, bay leaf, cinnamon, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper to taste.

Return turkey to skillet. Add sweet potato. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until sweet potato is tender, stirring one or two times. Makes 2 servings.

Note: Use a tight-fitting lid on the skillet so the stew doesn’t dry. If necessary, stir in 1/4 to cup chicken broth to prevent burning.

To bone a turkey thigh, lay the piece skin-side down so the bone side is up. Insert a sharp boning knife into the flesh just where it meets the bone.

Work the knife under the bone and down and around the joint on one end to loosen it from one joint to the second joint. Trim away any fat, cartilage and skin.

Don’t worry if you don’t carve the thigh into one large piece, since you’re cutting it into chunks.


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