Sunday, March 9, 2008

Caribbean Comfort for a Feisty Snow Storm

It doesn't feel like winter is going to end any time soon in Montreal even if Spring is just around the corner. We had our gazillionth snow storm since December and my shovel was put to better use than my skis this year. We had everything this season from hail, to freezing rain and a ton of snow.

To comfort myself, I prepared a spicy and hearty dish that would remind me of the sunny and warm caribbean islands, popular holiday destination spots for canadians. It's a stew that has a very lovely texture and piquancy which stimulates everyone's taste buds for more. But frankly, the topliner of this bourgillon-style stew, is the turkey. It literally melts in your mouth. In all honesty, I was never a huge fan of turkey, as I often found it too dry and gamy. BUT, after having tried this recipe, which was sent to me by an amazing Haitian cook, I now feel more comfortable cooking and experimenting with it.

To add a caribbean flair to this snowy day of a neverending winter, I am so pleased to share this recipe with you which is simple to make. Though cooking time may be almost an hour, 90% of that time is simmering the turkey stew, while you catch up with your e-mails, reading or snoozing.
Preparation: 20 minutes, Cooking time: 55 minutes
Recipe “au pif”:
2 large turkey legs, chopped in pieces
1 tbsp + 1 tsp flavoured salt (you can get at any grocery store: garlic, paprika, cayenne…etc.)
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 yellow onions, sliced thinly in rings
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 large hot chili pepper, sliced
1 ½ tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp flour
4 cloves (local grocery store)
3-4 sprigs thyme
1 Bay leaf
3 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vinegar
2 cups boiling water
2 tbsp + 1 tbsp olive oil

* To clean the bird (eliminate bacteria and gamy taste), soak in lemon juice and vinegar in a large bowl, for about 5 minutes, and pour boiling water. Let it sit for another 5 minutes and drain. Pat dry with paper towel. Remove the skin.

Season turkey with 1 tbsp flavoured salt and black pepper in a large bowl.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil on high heat and brown the turkey to give it colour (the more colour, the tastier). Put turkey aside.

In the same saucepan with turkey fat, heat remaining 1 tbsp olive oil, add in the flour and half the sliced onions and stir until soft. Add in the chicken stock, tomato paste, garlic, remaining 1 tbsp flavoured salt (or to taste), cloves and stir well for about 1 minute.

Add in the turkey and stir for about 30 seconds. With scissors, cut the ends of the thyme in small pieces over the turkey and stir until the sauce covers the turkey just over 1 cm (about 1/2 inch). Cover the saucepan with lid, and reduce the heat to medium-low and slow-cook or simmer for about 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes, uncover and add in the remaining half of the onions and the chilli peppers. Stir once and make sure the onions are nicely incorporated in the sauce with the turkey. Cover with lid and simmer for another 10 minutes. The onions will thicken the sauce. If you want more heat, add more chili pepper, cayenne pepper or tabasco sauce.

The sauce should be finely velvety and the turkey should fall apart from a prick of a fork.

Serve hot with pasta, rice, or a spinach salad.

Serves approx. 4 people.

My caribbeanean guests absolutely loved it. Bon appétit!


ioyces said...

mmmmmMmm..!!The dish sounds great!!!
Will try it out soon!!
Using lemon juice and vinegar to eliminate bacteria and gamey taste is something new to me!! Can you use it on other types of meat as well?
The weather where I am is scorching to say the least...we r in our 13th day of >37 hot hot!!! Wish that we can exchange places!!

Trigirl 2007 - Québec said...

Mizz Qlinart,

La prochaine fois que je te vois, je vais te montrer les livres de recettes que j'avais rapporté de Trinidad. J'sais pas pourquoi je pense tellement à Trinidad... Parce que j'associe les saveurs du Sud à la chaleur et que j'suis tannée de la neige??? Mouaaah