Ways to Make Turkey Tastier

The confit process made the turkey taste more like turkey

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By David Hammond

Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday of mine because it involves people getting together with food as a focus.

Though the company is always good, the food, alas, is never quite as tasty as I'd like.

Turkey is decent enough meat, but it's quite lean, so it's less flavorful than, say, ham.

At last Saturday's Meals on Wheels event in Bridgeport, guests sat around large table areas for the Celebrity Chef Ball. In the center of each table, Chicago chefs served a menu unique to the table. At our table, one of the chefs was Jimmy Bannos Jr., who opened my eyes to ways one might make turkey tastier.

One of my favorite preparations is duck confit, which I've made at home and which involves cooking duck at low temperatures in its own rendered fat. This process pushes flavorful fat back into the meat. It's not low-cal, but it is most definitely high-taste.

Bannos prepared turkey wings confit by slowly cooking the meat, not in its own fat, but in the fat of some of the Berkshire hogs he serves at his restaurant, The Purple Pig. The meat was as lush as one could imagine it to be, and the additional fat enhanced the flavor of the bird; it was as though the confit process made the turkey taste more like turkey.

This might have been the most satisfying turkey I've ever eaten…thanks to the contribution made by the Berkshire hogs. It's on the regular menu at The Purple Pig.


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