TURKEY WING BRAISE (ITALIAN/FUSION)
Too rainy to grill last night, but cool enough (barely) for stove-top work, so I made up a wine-friendly dinner using a lot of garden produce AND one of the cheapest possible protein sources: A pair of turkey wings! Unlike chicken wings, the turkey variety are big fellers -- a pair weighed about 2 1/2 pounds -- and even after the bones and waste (which is significant, but the cats love it) there's plenty of meat for two.
Here's how I did it, an easy (although slow-cooking) stovetop braise with a strong Mediterranean accent:
Wash two large turkey wings and use a cleaver to whack each into three pieces -- the mini-drumstick, the middle portion, and the mostly inedible tips.
In a large Dutch oven, sautee six or eight smooshed garlic cloves and one large sweet onion, sliced into rings, in a couple of tbsp olive oil until they're translucent. Place the six wing pieces on top of the onions and garlic, toss in a couple of big sprigs of fresh rosemary, and pour one cup of dry white wine over. Add salt and pepper, turn the heat down fairly low, cover, and braise at a gentle simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours. (That was my timing, but turkey wings are TOUGH, and I think next time I'd go for 2 hours or even more.)
While the wings are braising in the onion-garlic-wine mix, I prepared vegetables and added them along the way at appropriate points so they'd be done but not overdone when the wings were ready. Peeled a couple of baking potatoes, cut them into medium (1/2-inch) dice, and threw them in with about 40 minutes left to go. (Braising is slower than boiling, hence the relatively long time). Peeled a couple of big beefsteak tomatoes from the garden, tossed them with sliced basil leaves, and added them with about 30 minutes left. Whacked one big summer squash into dice about the same size as the potatoes and threw them in with 20 minutes left.
Toward the end, the veggies having thrown off a lot of liquid, I removed the lid and raised the heat to reduce it some. Also adjusted seasonings and added a shot of hot sauce. Worked out great, dinner in a dish; the turkey became very savory with all the braising juices, and the veggies were done just right. It made so much that we finished the turkey but held the sauce and veggies over as soup for lunch today.
The dinner went well with a warm, fruity Zinfandel; the turkey is a dark, robust enough poultry to stand up to red, particularly with the fresh tomatoes, herbs and hot sauce to add flavor interest.