When it comes to turkey, most people are quick to reach for the familiar cuts like breasts, thighs, or drumsticks. However, there’s an often overlooked and highly flavorful part of the bird that deserves more attention: turkey necks.
These humble cuts are packed with rich, succulent meat and when cooked right, can be a true delicacy. In this article I will instruct you on how to cook turkey necks perfectly at home.
1. How To Cook Turkey Necks
- 1 pound of turkey necks
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups of chicken or turkey broth
- 1 can of diced tomatoes (optional)
Start by rinsing the turkey necks under cold water to remove any bone fragments or residual feathers. Pat them dry with paper towels.
In a large, deep skillet or a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Carefully place the turkey necks in the pan and let them sear for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they turn golden brown. This searing process locks in the juices and adds a wonderful depth of flavor.
Add the chopped onions, carrots, and celery to the pan. Sauté them for about 5 minutes, or until they start to soften and the onions become translucent. Add the minced garlic and continue to cook for another minute, being careful not to let it burn.
Toss in the bay leaf, dried thyme, and rosemary. These herbs will add a delightful aromatic quality to the dish. Stir everything together to ensure the herbs and spices are evenly distributed.
Pour in the chicken or turkey broth, ensuring that the turkey necks are mostly submerged. If desired, add a can of diced tomatoes for an extra burst of flavor. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours. This slow cooking process will allow the meat to become tender and fall-off-the-bone.
After the simmering time is up, carefully remove one of the turkey necks and test it for tenderness. It should pull apart easily with a fork. If it’s still tough, let it simmer for another 30 minutes and test again.
Season the dish with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed, keeping in mind that flavors can intensify during the cooking process.
Serve the turkey necks over a bed of fluffy white rice, brown rice, or even quinoa. The grains soak up the flavorful broth and add a nice texture to the dish.
By following these steps, you’ll unlock the full potential of this often overlooked part of the turkey, creating a dish that’s sure to become a new favorite at your dinner table. Enjoy!