Turkey Au Vin


One of the things that excites me about fall is the thought of making comfort food - those hearty, easy, one-pot wonders that fill the home with great aromas that just melts your heart with sheer contentment. One such dish is the classic Coq Au Vin. However, my version is a reinvention, a retrofit, if you will, to suit our dietary needs. About four years ago, the hubby and I became allergic to chicken (free range, organic...you name it, we can't eat it) and had to cut it out of our diet completely. Truthfully, other than my occasional fun special evenings making Cornish hens (sometimes basted with a silky marmalade glaze on top) for either an anniversary dinner or time with friends, and seeing this fast food option oddity that I never even heard of and have been wishing I could try, we don't miss it. But being a determined individual who believes there's always a different option, I didn't let that stop me/us from eating some of our favorite dishes just because we couldn't eat chicken, including this ultimate French comfort food. Naturally, I rolled up my sleeves and channeled my inner Julia Child by substituting turkey meat in lieu of the chicken for my Coq Au Vin - giving it a dash of 'DaFashionista' flair with an unexpected twist...thus the name in the title which really should properly be translated "Dinde Au Vin" (in French), but I didn't like the way that sounds, so I kept it simple and direct.



Ingredients (serves 4)

1 750-ml. bottle of a dry full-bodied red wine (your preference)
1 3 1/2lb. turkey meat, preferably legs, breasts and thighs
1/2 lb. bacon cut into 1/4" strips
1 lb. store bought gnocchi, either fresh or packaged
2 celery stalks, peeled and cut into 2" sticks
1 head garlic, cut in half
1 lb. button mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
1/2 lb. pearl onions, peeled
1 sachet of 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, 1 fresh bay leaf, 1tsp. coriander seed, tied in a cheesecloth with kitchen twine
2 tbsp flour
2 cups unsalted vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
Handful of chopped parsley
Salt and freshly cracked white pepper to taste.


Directions

In a large pan, reduce the wine on low heat to half, then set aside to cool. Place the turkey in a large container with the garlic, mushrooms, onions, celery, bacon, and herb sachet. Cover all ingredients with the reduced wine and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Drain the marinated ingredients and reserve the wine liquid. Pat ingredients dry, and season the turkey meat with salt and pepper. Place a large dutch oven over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook, stirring bacon until crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a piece of paper towel. Sear the turkey pieces in the bacon fat (in batches) on all sides until it's a nice golden brown. Remove the turkey - now add all your vegetables and herb sachet, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour and cook, stirring until well-incorporated for another 5 minutes.

Add the wine, crisped bacon, turkey, and vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and transfer in the oven. Cook, stirring and basting every 20 minutes, until the turkey is tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours*.

TIP: If you want a thicker sauce, remove your meat and vegetables from the dutch oven, return the sauce to the medium heat, and reduce until it's at a desired consistency. Sauce shouldn't be thin. It should coat the back of a spoon. Replace all ingredients back into the pan, season to taste and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.

*In the meantime, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Pan fry the gnocchi in a single layer until golden brown on both sides, then toss the gnocchi in your turkey mixture the last 20 minutes of the cooking time.

Hope you give it a go. "It's one of the most flavorful and juicy turkey you'll ever have..." said a friend who came over for dinner the night I made it.



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