Risotto is one of those dishes, like soup,bread salad and gumbo, that provides a perfect canvas for leftover holiday turkey. But you needn’t wait until after Thanksgiving to enjoy this dish. As the holidays approach, markets begin to stock fresh turkey, sold both whole and in pieces. And because turkey breast is the most popular cut, the more flavorful thighs, legs and wings are generally readily available at a good price. Simply roast a couple of thighs, a leg and a wing or two, reserve the best of the meat and simmer the meaty bones to make a simple stock. Cranberry chutney adds a spicy warmth and enhances the dish’s compatibility with a variety of wines.
The creamy delicacy of the rice combined with the earthy flavor of turkey, the perfume of the sage and the sweet tang of cranberries suggest an equally complex and delicate red wine – something luscious yet light, lest the subtle qualities of the dish be eclipsed. Pinot Noir from California’s coastal vineyards provides the best possiblities. Ridgeway Family Vineyards 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, from a small vineyard in southwestern Petaluma, is a stellar match. For a more playful, lighthearted match, consider Beaujolais Nouveau, an exuberant companion to cranberries.
-MICHELE ANNA JORDAN
- 7 to 8 cups homemade turkey stock
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 celery rib, minced
- Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons rubbed sage
- 2 cups Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice
- 2 cups cooked turkey, preferably thigh meat, shredded
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
- Black pepper in a mill
- 3 ounces (3⁄4 cup) dry Jack cheese, grated
- Fresh sage leaves, for garnish
- Cranberry Chutney, commercial or homemade*
Pour the turkey stock into a saucepan, set over medium heat and when it begins to boil, reduce the heat to low so that it barely simmers. Melt the butter in a large deep saucepan set over medium low heat. Add the shallots and celery and cook slowly until soft and fragrant, about 10 to 12 minutes; do not let the vegetables brown. Season with salt and stir in the rubbed sage.
Add the rice and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring all the while, or until each grain begins to turn milky white. Add 1⁄2 cup of the stock and stir constantly until it is absorbed, adjusting the heat as needed so that it is neither too high nor too low; the stock should simmer but not boil. Continue to add stock 1⁄2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until the rice swells and is just tender, about 18 to 20 minutes.
When there is about 1⁄2 cup of the stock remaining, fold in the turkey and the sage. Add half of the remaining stock, taste, season with salt and pepper and stir in the cheese. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining stock.
To serve: Ladle into warm soup plates and garnish with fresh sage leaves and a spoonful of chutney. Serve immediately.
*Note: There are several brands of cranberry chutney on the market, such as Stonewall Kitchen’s (stonewallkitchen.com), which is among the best. It is also easy to it make at home.