Leftovers & Braised Turkey Thighs

by Sara on October 18, 2010

braised turkey thighs

As my college roommates can attest, I’ve never been a fan of leftovers. With good intentions, I’d wrap up the food, and into the fridge it would go. The next day, I’d pass over the leftovers in favor of something new, and THOSE leftovers would join the others. After a few weeks, we ended up with a few science experiments, to say the least.

ingredients

It’s been a long time since my college days, but I still have the same track record with eating my leftovers. Over the years, I kept thinking about how I should really put more effort into transforming leftovers into a new (and exciting!) meal.

apple chunks

So here you have it: a new series of posts, dedicated to taking one meal and transforming it into one or more spin-offs. I can’t promise that all transformations will be exciting, or that they won’t elicit a “Duh! I do that all the time!” response, but I hope to get more creative as time goes on. If you have any favorite transformations, I’d love to hear about them in the comments section.

seasoned turkey browned turkey thighs

My first transformation is relatively simple, and one most of us are familiar with. But I have a second transformation from the original meal already in mind, and I will blog about that in the near future.

The best part about this meal? It takes very little effort to make, yet is a perfect way to warm up the house on a cold day. (Because the actual hands-on cooking time is so low, I’ve categorized it as a “quick meal.”)

Recipe Note: Though I didn’t include it in the recipe, adding about a tablespoon of spiced run, along with the stock and cider, really gives the sauce a nice flavor. I didn’t add that step this time, because I was out of spiced rum, and um, I couldn’t reach the regular!

Meal One: Apple-Braised Turkey Thighs, adapted from Everyday Food (October 2009)

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 turkey thighs (about 2 pounds total)
salt & ground pepper
4 large shallots, sliced
4 apples (suggested: Cortland or Granny Smith)
2 cups apple cider
2 cups chicken or turkey stock*
5 sprigs thyme
1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350*F.

In a medium Dutch oven or deep sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Season the turkey with salt and pepper, add to the oil, skin-side down. Cook until skin is golden, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and add shallots to pan. Cook until browned, about 6 minutes. Add apples and allow to slightly soften, about 5 minutes.

Return turkey to the pot, skin-side up; add cider, stock, and sprigs of thyme. Bring to a boil, cover, then transfer pot to the oven for 1 ½ hours. Remove the lid and cook for another 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and transfer turkey to a clean plate. Remove thyme, skim fat from cooking liquid and stir in vinegar. Slice or pull meat off the bones (save bones for turkey stock) and serve with apples and pan sauce.

*This recipe is gluten free if you use broth/stock that does not contain gluten.

For Meal #2, shred the leftover turkey and reserve the savory apple sauce. Tuesday’s post will feature the transformed leftovers…

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