If you are anything like me, wild game features in your December holiday menu. For my family and I, we have all become pretty decent turkey hunters, and it is not uncommon for there to be six to ten gobblers taken collectively between my father, brother, cousins, and I. One of those turkeys gets plucked and roasted for deer camp, others get grilled, smoked, or made into pot pies throughout the year, and in my house, one gets prepared at Christmas. A whole roasted wild turkey feeds a lot of people, and there are invariably leftovers. I have been fortunate enough to feast on leftover wild turkey sandwiches and make huge pots of wild turkey soup with the remnants of big family Christmas meals. This year though, Christmas in a pandemic is going to look a bit different; instead of roasting a whole bird for my family of four and eating leftover turkey until we can no longer stand it, we’re opting to use just the legs and thighs of a bird we butchered into quarters following a last minute hunt this past spring. Often overlooked or derided as tough and rugged, this recipe is a great way to transform those legs and thighs into tender bites stuffed into perfect raviolis. A traditional Christmas dish this is not, but it is warm and comforting on a cold December evening, and that’s just what we need this year.
2 wild turkey legs (thigh and drumstick separated)
1 ½ cups olive oil
12-15 sprigs of thyme
6 slices of thick cut bacon, chopped
1 cup vegetable stock
3 large leeks, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
3 ½ cups of fine (00) flour
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
Brown Butter Sage Sauce
1 cup of unsalted butter
6-10 sage leaves, whole
1/8 cup of white wine
Shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
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- Pour the flour onto a clean flat surface and make a well in the centre.
- Pour the eggs, salt, and olive oil into the well.
- Using a fork begin to beat the eggs slowly into the flour, gradually incorporating more flour.
- When the dough begins to stick together begin to knead by hand into a ball. The dough should be springy but firm.
- Wrap the ball loosely in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
Wild Turkey & Leek Filling
- The day before serving, put the turkey legs, thyme, and olive oil in a medium sized roaster or casserole dish. The legs should be fully submerged in the olive oil.
- Put the turkey legs in an oven preheated to 275 degrees F for at least four hours.
- After cooking, allow the legs to cool in the oil overnight, and then once cooled, shred the meat from the legs and thighs. Set aside in a bowl.
- In a large pan, heat the chopped bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove to drain on a paper towel while reserving the bacon fat.
- Turn the heat down to low and add the chopped leeks to the bacon fat. Add salt and pepper as necessary and begin to slowly cook the leeks.
- Once the leeks are soft, add in the bacon, the shredded turkey meat, and the vegetable stock. Cook this slowly on very low heat until the stock is fully absorbed by the meat and leeks.
- Cut the dough into eight equal-sized chunks and roll out to thickness of approximately 1/8 of an inch.
- Place a rolled length of dough on a flat surface dusted lightly with flour and spoon small mounds of the filling onto the dough.
- Place another rolled length of dough over top and ensure that no air pockets are trapped in your ravioli.
- Cut or crimp your raviolis and set them aside. It is okay if they are not all uniform, or if they are overfilled. So long as there are no air pockets and the seal is crimped tight, they will cook just fine.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Drop 6-8 raviolis into the water and stir gently. Once the raviolis float, remove them to drain.
- In a skillet, slowly melt the butter and add the whole sage leaves.
- Continue to heat the butter and sage it until the butter begins to brown.
- As soon as the butter turns brown, remove the pan from the heat, then add the white wine and the drained ravioli.
- Plate the ravioli with the butter and sage sauce, then garnish with the shredded cheese and chopped sage.
This recipe will make between 48 and 60 raviolis depending on how much filling you stuff into them. Uncooked raviolis can be bagged and frozen for up to a month.