I have been reading award winning Precious Cargo by Dave DeWitt about how foods brought back from the New World by the Spanish and other explorers changed the way Europeans ate. I already knew how popular turkey is in the United States, but was amazed to read how much is consumed in modern Europe. The top five turkey consuming countries are: U.S.A., Canada, European Union, Brazil, and Mexico.
Before reading Precious Cargo, I didn’t think the French liked turkey at all. DeWitt writes of French recipes for truffle-stuffed turkey, and if you know how expensive truffles are you know this is one pricey dish! The English bought about ten million turkeys for their Christmas feasts in 2008, according to Precious Cargo. Italy is the fifth largest producer of turkey meat in the world with France and Germany coming in second and third. Who knew?
Precious Cargo has totally changed my perspective on the versatile turkey. I have started testing recipes using ingredients found by European explorers in Mexico. The experiments are going very well and I love the taste of slow cooked turkey with tomatoes and dried chilies. But, just so you know, there are so many varieties of chilies it will take a long time to test and compile all the recipes!
Since I’m all about fast, healthful and easy cooking, what could be easier that putting a turkey thigh or drumsticks in a slow cooker with tomatoes, potatoes, chilies, onions, garlic and herbs? It is wonderful to come home and open the door to this exotic fragrance wafting from the kitchen and enveloping you. With a few tortillas on the side you have a delicious meal ready to eat that took no more than ten minutes to toss in the slow cooker.
If you don’t like the heat from dried peppers there are a few not as hot varieties available like: Anaheim (California), anchos, guajillo, mulatto, or Oaxaca. If you can’t find these in your local grocery store, they are available online. My favorite online place to find dried peppers is Melissa’s www.Melissa’s.com. Once you taste turkey with dried peppers and tomatoes, you will be hooked. Melissa’s has a hard to find mild dried pepper – the Oaxaca, full of rich smoky flavor that makes the turkey taste like it was cooked in a smoker or on a BBQ grill. To support your chili explorations, Melissa’s is providing a box of goodies including “The Great Pepper Cookbook”, and an assortment of their pepper products to one lucky reader. If you don’t like the hot ones, don’t worry – they can send you hot or not-so-hot products. Just leave a comment on this post to be entered. For an extra chance at winning, leave a comment on my Facebook fan page about this post or peppers https://www.facebook.com/FastAndFuriousCook .
Get started with this turkey treat and see for yourself that it can be enjoyed year round and in ways you never thought of. Please let me know what you think of this recipe by leaving your comments, and please share with family and friends.
Aztec Slow Cooker Turkey
1 turkey thigh or leg about 1 1/2 pounds*
1 cup diced tomatoes, canned or fresh
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 clove fresh garlic, minced, about 1 teaspoon
1 cup turkey or chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 oz. dried Oaxaca chili peppers, broken into one inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon Hatch™ chili powder, or regular chili powder
1 pound potatoes cut into one inch cubes*
1 cup frozen corn, optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except turkey and potatoes.
Put about 1/4 of the mixture on the bottom of the Crockpot™.
Pour the rest of the ingredients over the potatoes.
Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
Serves 4 to 6
•I don’t skin or bone the turkey before cooking, but do remove skin and bone before serving. I also skim the grease off the top just before serving as the skin does leave a fair amount of fat.
•I keep the skin on organic potatoes, but peel them if they are non-organic.
Even though Melissa’s Produce gifted me some of their products to try my opinions are my own.