Turkey rillettes

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This is a fantastic use for leftover roast turkey.  Although it's worth making from fresh turkey thighs anytime.  The thighs are the best bit of the bird - full of flavour, suited to slow cooking and not expensive if bought separately.  You could also use smoked turkey instead. 


Recipe:  Turkey rillettes.pdf

Makes:  approx 1 litre rillettes, which will feed 12+ as a starter with toast and pickles

1500g turkey leg meat on the bone - drumsticks and/or thighs
320g duck or goose fat
3 large fresh bay leaves
8 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 sprigs of fresh sage
8 cloves of garlic, peeled
approx.  500-700ml turkey or chicken stock
3-5 tsps Cognac, or to taste
3-5 tsps lemon juice or vinegar, or to taste
salt & pepper

  1. Place meat snugly inside a heavy-based pot.  If it won't fit easily, cut it into smaller pieces.  Add fat, herbs and garlic and just enough stock to cover.  Season with salt (unless using pre-cooked or smoked meat).
  2. Simmer gently, uncovered, until most of the water content has evaporated away and the meat is falling away from the bone.  If the meat was pre-roasted an hour will be sufficient, otherwise you may need two to three hours to cook it from raw.  Turn the meat over occasionally.  
  3. Remove the meat and when cool enough to handle break or cut it into 1 inch pieces, removing the skin, bones, veins and sinews etc.  Shred the meat into strands using your fingers or two forks.  Or blitz it in a food processor.  You can also add in the sage leaves (not stalks) and garlic cloves if you like.  Mash everything together well.
  4. Pour the liquid contents of the pot through a sieve into a jug.  Let it settle and then spoon or pour off the top layer of fat into another jug, leaving the meaty juices in the first.   
  5. Mix spoonfuls of fat and meat juice into the rillettes until you have a moist paste.  You probably won't want to use all of the juice or fat.  
  6. Taste and season with salt and pepper and dashes of bandy and vinegar.  It should taste well seasoned and rich but with a brightness to alleviate the fattiness.
  7. Pack into bowls or jars.  Pour leftover fat over the top to seal the surface.  Chill for a couple of hours (or preferably a couple of days) in the fridge before serving.  Serve with toast or baguette and something zingy such as a relish or pickle. 

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