Heritage Turkey with the Three Sisters

Peter Hoffman—chef, local food expert and owner of New York's Savoy and Back Forty restaurants—has graciously provided this recipe for a Thanksgiving feast.

The idea here is that we are going to separate the breast from the thigh. The breast will be rubbed with a spice rub and roasted, the thigh and legs will be braised and form a stew with posole, cranberry beans and winter squash, representing the native American three sisters—the holy trinity if you will of key ingredients in their pre-Columbian diet.

Day before Thanksgiving.
Remove the thigh leg combos from the turkey and slit the leg from the thigh. Cut the back away from the breast. Remove the wishbone. This allows easy carving later. Rub the breast with the spice mix (see recipe below). Wrap and put in the fridge. Put the back in unsalted water with the dry posole. Bring to a boil. Lower heat. Skim. Add some bay and oregano in a sachet with onion and garlic. Cook for three hours until the posole is tender but not fully opened. Salt and cook another hour. Add more water as necessary. Pull the back out and pull off the meat. Reserve for the stew. Discard the bones and the sachet.

Day before or day of. In a wide sautée pan pour olive oil to cover. Salt, pepper and spice rub the thighs and legs. Begin to brown the meat skin-side down first. When the meat is golden on all sides remove from the pan. Add chopped onion and sliced garlic. Sweat to transluscent. Add back in the meat and moisten with some chicken stock. Simmer covered for 30 minutes. Add the cranberry beans and stew for another hour. Check for doneness/tenderness of the thighs. Season.
If day before stop here. If day of continue with the squash.

Cut or pull the meat off the bones but do not shred leaving large chunks for good mouthfuls. Add the bits from the carcass cooking of the posole. Add the posole. Cut the squash into 2-3” irregular shapes. Add to the stew and cook for 20 minutes or until the squash is tender. Check seasoning again.

Meanwhile the turkey breast has been pulled from the fridge allowed to come to room temp and then roasted in the oven at 425. Baste frequently adding some butter into the juices if necessary although these birds should have a good fat cap on them. 45 minutes I think. Remove and allow to rest. Carve and display on a serving platter. Put the stew in a bowl and serve.

Stew ingredients

1 lb dried beans—calypso, Jacobs cattle, cocoa—something fun, not a run of the mill bean
1 lb posole
1 winter squash—buttercup, kuri, kabocha, etc cut in large chunks
1 large onion
6 cloves garlic

Spice Rub ingredients
6 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp black pepper corn
3/4 cup pimenton or smoked paprika
1 tbsp cumin toasted
2 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp fennel seed
1 tbsp sugar


...what temperature???

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