Smoke and Mirrors

smoked turkey legs with white beans

Smoked Turkey Legs With White Beans

Another day, another trip to the grocery store, and of course another unintended purchase while suffering from food boredom. In this case smoked turkey legs were mixed in among the usual poultry products. It was clear that this was some sort of purchasing mistake as the grocery store had marked them down to $0.99 per pound and three smoked legs came to $1.99. How could I pass that up?

I did not feel like creating a new recipe so I tried the smoked turkey legs as a substitute for smoked pork shank braised with white beans, and a couple of days later I substituted the smoked turkey for roasted turkey in the Asian-style turkey soup. The smoked turkey legs in the white bean recipe tasted remarkably like the smoked pork shank. I guess the smoky flavor takes over in the long braise. The pork version contains more fat so the meat is a bit more tender and juicy. And with more fat the beans take on more flavor. In order to overcome the fat deficit, and to help use up an avalanche of peppers from the garden, I spiced up the turkey version with some serrano peppers worrying that the turkey and white beans might be a bit bland together. The peppers added just enough heat to give the beans a good depth of flavor without being too hot. I think if you can afford the pork shank, which usually runs about $8 per recipe, that would be the better option. But the smoked turkey provides a leaner, less expensive, though still tasty option.

The Asian-style turkey soup was a toss up between roasted versus smoked turkey. In either recipe I prefer the turkey legs with their dark meat. The question really comes down to how much you like smoky flavor in your food. Unlike the braised, smoked turkey legs, the smoked turkey in the soup still tasted like turkey with the smoke adding a bit more character to the recipe. This recipes probably comes down to which type of turkey you have on hand at the time. I usually only make this soup around Thanksgiving weekend to use up leftovers. However, if you find some turkey legs on sale it is a tasty soup just about any time of year.

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