The last time I had a scrumptious turkey leg was during our marathon lasagna-making day the day before Easter. We needed sustenance to fuel us while rolling meatballs, kneading dough and screaming at each other out of pure exhaustion and being Italian. The legs are my favorite part of the turkey as well as the thigh and I really don't understand why they are not around all year long! If I could build a bird, I would get rid of the breast and add six legs--I should probably not say this out loud for some food company may hear and make a franken-turkey and all the GMO-radicals will be after me--who needs that?
I called my mother to get some details about her recipe and in typical Italian fashion she gives me a list of ingredients, but no measurements ("just taste it") and it should cook for "about an hour," just "check on it". So then I called my sister, Tina, to remind me of how long we cooked the legs at Easter and she said, "until it's done". I ask her about the ingredients she uses and she says, "whatever is in my cabinet." They still have the power to make me crazy.
Here is what I gathered and how I cooked them:
4 lovely, fleshy Turkey legs (skin on)
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup of Red wine vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Choose 4 large meaty legs (you can do this with thighs as well.) Keep skin on, but make three slits into the skin to tenderize but still allow skin to become crispy. Rub it with red wine vinegar to begin the denaturation of the protein and help along the slow cook. Also rub the curvy leg with extra virgin olive oils -sea salt, italian parsley, fresh garlic, onion powder and oregano.
Cook about an hour in a 350-degree oven. The first half hour should be covered in foil and then removed for the remainder of the cooking. You can baste the running juices onto the leg and cook for about another 25 min (but "check on it") which means tug at the flesh. The 350 degree temperature should allow a slow cook and tenderize the cartilage that we love so much as well.
Let the legs rest for about 20-25 min, then lift drumstick and tear with teeth and gnaw on the cartilage and chew on like a wolverine.
This is how my sisters and I ate them, while we rolled out lasagna dough-standing up in the kitchen-feasting on all their succulent joy.
Note: Where do you have a better chance to find Turkey Legs off season in NYC? Head to the grocery stores on Avenue D-they should be there among the hocks, the tripe and the pig's feet.
For those of you breast eaters-there is no reason not to delve into dark!
High in Protein, Iron, Folate, Zinc, Phosphorous