Braised Turkey Legs and Veggies and Stuff – The New Cholent?

In a perfect world I would plan ahead. In a perfect world, my shabbat menu would be planned on Tuesday, with shopping done on Wednesday, and cooking done on Thursday. In a perfect world.

My reality is worlds away. My reality is that it occurs to me that Shabbat is coming on Wednesday. I doodle some menu ideas during the day and forget those notes at work when I get home. At work on Thursday, I doodle out some shopping lists. Once again, I forget those lists at work. On Thursday night I tell myself I will take something out of the freezer or run to the store. Reality is that I am exhausted and would rather veg out in front of Grey’s Anatomy while sipping some honeyed tea. That was my week.

On Friday morning I grab some chicken soup out of the freezer. Quickly scan the vegetable drawer and draw up a realistic list for the husband. I forgot to take any protein out of the freezer the night before, so I beg J to run to the store on his way to work to pick up chicken and some sort of beef product for cholent or some other shabbat lunch treat. I mosey on off to work and ignore the impending last minute shabbat cookathon that will greet me when I return home.

Sitting at my desk at work, sipping my coffee – it’s 8:30 am. The phone rings. It’s J. “Good news,” he says, “I bought turkey legs!” He is excited and totally proud of this.

What the heck am I going to do with turkey legs? I don’t like turkey! I don’t like cholent, but at least I can cook it with my eyes closed. J protests that the turkey will be perfect. It’s the perfect protein for cooking overnight.

When I get home from work, I have minutes to brainstorm what this turkey will become. It’s T-minus 1.5 hours until Shabbat starts and I still need to come up with a menu. I open the fridge and glance at the two ginormous turkey legs. Those legs look larger than my 4-year-old’s! I glance at the crockpot…too small! I yank the dutch oven out of the cabinet, heat up the flame, and get to work.

What I came up with worked really well. I highly recommend this as a substitute for your cholent, or really any night of the week.

Braised Turkey Legs with Root Vegetables

Two to Three Large Turkey Legs (thighs would also work)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp smoked paprika
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large leek, chopped
5 carrots, sliced
1 large potato, cubed
2 turnips, cubed
3 parsnips, sliced
2.5 cups vegetable broth
Bay leaf
Chopped parsley

Wash and dry the turkey. Sprinkle the turkey with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven, brown the turkey in olive oil. Takes about 6-10 minutes. Remove the turkey to a plate.

Throw in the onions, garlic, and leeks. Saute a few minutes. Add in the smoked paprika. Add in the chopped veggies. Cook for a couple minutes. Place the turkey over the root veggies. Now add the vegetable broth. Bring the broth to a boil. Add in the bay leaf and chopped parsley. Turn the heat down to medium low or cook in an oven set at 210 degrees. Cook overnight – slow cook on low for 10 hours.


African Peanut Chicken

This chicken was so good that I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of it. Well actually it tasted good, but looked pretty awful. It was also shabbat. So really no chance to get a good shot of it.

I love trying new ideas. The weekend is really my canvas to play with flavor. What I love most of all though, is experimenting with my dinner guests.

I love Asian style peanut sauces on foods, but had never ventured into the African peanut realm in food making. I often come upon recipes for African peanut soups and chicken dishes, but have held back on messing with them. The dear hubster has never been a fan of the asian peanut sauce – so I always assumed that an African peanut dish was off limits.

I decided to ignore his opinions and work out a recipe for me. I was really in the mood for a chicken dish that popped with flavor. I was in the mood for something different. A colleague has often mentioned a traditional African peanut sauce that she makes for her husband. I thought I would try my hand at something.

In searching through cookbooks and various blogs, I came up with a recipe that worked with what I had on hand. It came out amazing. Even the hubster loved it. To prove it, he devoured all the leftovers.

African Peanut Chicken with Vegetables


1.5 cups of creamy peanut butter (not the sugary kind)
3 cups of vegetable broth
1 chicken – cut up
1.5 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, diced (optional)
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 can diced tomatoes
2 large turnips, cubed
3 carrots, sliced
1 potato, cubed
1 sweet potato, cubed
cilantro, chopped (about a handful)

Preheat your oven to 325°F.

In a small bowl, whisk the peanut butter with 1.5 cups of the vegetable broth.

Wash and dry your chicken. Season it with salt and pepper.

In a large dutch oven, brown the chicken in the vegetable oil. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the onion, garlic, and peppers to the pot. S

auté a few minutes. Add in the cayenne and coriander.

Once the onion mixture has softened, add in the chopped root veggies.

Stir in the peanut butter mixture as well as the tomatoes and the remaining broth.

Add the chicken to the pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer and cover the pot. Transfer the chicken to the oven and cook for another hour.

After an hour – take the chicken out of the oven and place on the stove on medium heat. Transfer the chicken and veggies to a serving dish. Simmer, and reduce the sauce on the stove. Should take about 15 minutes. Mix in the cilantro.

Pour the sauce over the chicken. Serve over rice.


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