Do you feel like sometimes cooking a whole turkey is far more than you need? I certainly felt this way many times, when the holidays were over and I realized the huge amount of leftovers that filled my freezer and that took a long time to finish off. In the months following Christmas we made sandwiches, chili, Aguadito, salads, ravioli and Empanadas filled with turkey, rice with turkey…. We had to get creative to eat it quickly enough, without getting bored.
After a few years of becoming a slave to my Christmas leftovers, I learned my lesson and started cooking only the turkey breast. And it worked perfectly for us! My son only likes white meat anyway, so it was the best option. After a good marination it resulted in a tender, succulent, and juicy piece of meat that we all enjoyed.
After a while, I got a bit more experimental with this small-portion turkey cooking, and one of the resulting recipes consisted of turkey drumsticks, made by following a traditional and very criollo recipe. I marinate the drumsticks in soy sauce, garlic, and aji panca, and cook them in a flavorful broth with bay leaves and dried mushrooms. This dish was such a hit that I have been using the same recipe -with slight variations- for many years now. It’s always a success.
You can serve it with the typical holiday sides of apple and quince puree and mashed sweet potatoes. Another typical side in Peru is what we call arroz moro, which, to put it simply, is rice with toasted angel hair. A fresh salad can never be missing from my Christmas table, and one of my favorite options is to make a simple shredded carrot salad.
- 6 turkey legs
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- ½ teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon aji panca paste (or more to taste)
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 1 cup red wine
- ½ cup dried mushrooms, rehydrated
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon potato starch
- 2 tablespoons chopped
- Season the legs with garlic, ginger, aji panca paste, soy sauce, wine, bay leaves, and pepper. Marinade overnight.
- The following day transfer the turkey legs and the marinade to a saucepan. Add 1 ½ cups water and cook covered, over medium heat, until the legs are tender, (about 1 hour and 30 minutes).
- Chop the dried mushrooms, and add to the saucepan with their water after 30 minutes of cooking.
- Taste for seasoning, and discard the bay leaves.
- Dissolve the potato starch with 3 tablespoons cold water. Add to the saucepan, stirring until the sauce is lightly thick.
- Sprinkle with parsley and serve.