Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fricase de Pavo (Turkey Fricassee)

This is my Tata's recipe, very rustic filling delicious rich tomato and red wine based meat dish, it's turkey legs cut into large rounds simmered slowly until the meat if falling of the bone with chunks of potato and carrot.

I'm not sure if any other Cubans or Spaniards make this dish, but it's cooked in a very typical Cuban fashion (onions, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes, wine, generous amounts of olive oil, etc,) then again it could be Spanish to?


-2 1/2 lbs. Turkey legs cut into large rounds (excess skin removed and with long slits on the side)
-1 1/2 lbs. Turkey wing cut into segments (most of the skin removed)
-1 large green bell pepper minced
-1 large onion minced
-1 head garlic peeled mashed to a paste
-2 1/2 cups tomato sauce or pureed tomatoes
-1 1/2-2 cups red wine
-2-3 cups water (depends how thick or thin you want your sauce)
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-2-3 bay leaves
-salt to taste (atleast 1 1/2 teaspoon )
-4 potatoes peeled and halved
-8 carrots cut into large chunks peeled (about 1 pound)
-1/2 a bunch of washed clean minced cilantro or parsley (about 1 cup after minced)
-about 2-3 tablespoons oil that can stand high smoking point to brown meat (like canola or other vegetable oil although traditionally lard would be used I assume I just used canola but next time I'll use lard ;) olive oil would smoke and get it's flavor destroyed, eh I'm not sure my grandmother just does it like this.
-extra-virgin olive oil about 1/2 cup?


(1)Wash and clean the turkey meat. Pat dry. Season with salt. Heat on very high heat the pan until it's really hot, add oil (not the olive oil just an oil that can stand high heat like canola, or other vegetable oil or lard) it will quickly heat to almost a smoking point, add meat and brown on all sides (about 4 minutes on each side or longer but be careful don't turn the bottom of the pan completely black just let it brown and a little black is not bad you will need the drippings to form the sauce and deglaze if it's all black then you ruined your sauce)

(2)Set turkey aside in a seperate plate, now lower heat to medium and add extra-virgin oil, add minced onion and bell pepper, stir well scraping the bottom, let it cook down atleast 5-7 minutes. Make some space pour more olive oil and sautee garlic with onion and bell pepper about 3-4 minutes. Now add ground cumin and bay leaves and sautee another minute.

(3)Add red wine and crank up heat so it bubbles and deglaze the pan when the wine reduces somewhat add tomato sauce and cook down the tomato sauce for about 5-6 minutes on medium high stiring occasionally.

(3)Add water now and bring to a rolling boil, add turkey legs and wings back along with any oil and drippings it released, spoon sauce over it and coat well. Cover and well and cook for about 1 1/2 hours on low heat

(4)After about 1 1/2 hours uncover and add carrot and potatoes if nessecary add more water incorporate well (don't mix roughly you'll break the tender meat just swoosh the pan around to coat well) cover and cook another 1/2 hour.

(5)When done turn off heat and add minced cilantro or parsley for color. Serve with lots of white rice to soak up the sauce this dish can stand alone but if you wish you could accompany it with a raw salad and a cuban black bean soup or something. We ate it with a bunch of sides (because we had leftovers vegetable sides in the fridge like pickled purple beets, pickled golden beets, and guacamole that was not mashed but had everything cut in chunks that we needed to finish)
-I used 2 1/2 lbs turkey legs and 1 1/2 lbs turkey wings for a total of 4 lbs of meat. If you wish you can use 4 lbs. of turkey legs instead (which is about 4 turkey legs). I just thought the wing would lend good flavor.

-After recieving some comments from some trusted Cuban cooks (Marilyn from "My Cuban Traumas" and one of my readers Mamey aka Omar) I learned this dish is a "Turkey Fricassee" and is the secondary dish for Christmas eve and the "Lechon" (roast pork) is the first.

Variation on this dish
-Also this dish can be made without the carrot and added to it can be a combination of pimiento stuffed olives (about 1/4- 1/2 cup), raisins (about 1/2 cup) and capers (a couple tablespoons not to much) to give it a sweet and sour taste, add them when you add the potatoes during the last 30 minutes of cooking. But be warned go very light on the salt or only salt the turkey when browning when making this variation the red wine, olives, and capers have a lot of sodium. You can probably add them in the beginning but they might disintegrate (never tried it maybe I should give it a try like this also learned this from Mamey aka Omar)


If you like it like Marilyn only olives and capers to keep it savory or I bet just olives to. (the pimiento stuffed olives also known as "Manzanilla Olives") with no raisins.


Mamey said...

Nathan: I make something similar and call it 'fricase de pavo.' I learned it from my Mom...we often would have it instead of roast turkey on Thanksgiving.It would be a secondary dish to the traditional roast pig on Christmas Eve back in Cuba, when my family would also make 'arroz con guineo'(the spotted guinea chicken). In Cuba we didn't add carrots, but I always do so here, and sometimes I also add celery to the sofrito. Oh yeah, we also add raisins, capers, and olives.

Nathan said...

Hmmm... maybe it is "Fricase de Pavo?" I wan't sure what the name of the dish I made was so I just called it "Entomatada" since it's in tomato haha.

So how exactly do you make it? Is it the same as my recipe except you add olives, raisins, and capers to make it "sweet and sour"?

Oh also do you have any good recipes for "Fricase de Conejo"? feel free to email me.

Oh yeah and since you enjoy my blog posts if you wish I can put you on an email list so that you recieve my blogposts via email everytime I post them if it makes your life easier.

Joan Nova said...

I haven't eaten this but I love turkey and I love food cooked this way. Very nice recipe.

Marilyn said...

Hi Nathan,
Yes, this is Fricassee de Pavo; Mamey is also right about being the secondary dish for Nochebuena’s dinner.
I prefer olives and capers to raisins. I like to sauté the meat with the sofrito and then add the tomato sauce.
By the way, we call the red wine, vino tinto.
How is school going?

casadeweaver said...

Thank You Nathan, this is my second year using this recipe for Thanksgiving. We love this recipe and reminds me alot of living back in Hialeah.

CantaRanas said...

This is what my Papa would make for Thanksgiving in Brooklyn!
We are from Las Villas, and he added stuffed olives, no capers or carrots .
Fricasee de Pavo
In fact, Nathan, I use this same recipe but with vino seco, for MANY dishes, from chicken , beef , and yes , rabbit.
It's my go-to Cuban deliciousness!!!
Rabbit requires something acidic, such as vinegar .
Que Dios te bendiga en tu cocina !

Also, I like to use "apio" celery and if I have some on my garden, I'll use chunks of Japanese eggplant too .
It's all good in that sauce .Salud !!!

CantaRanas said...

Another thing ! My father , "Yeyo"
Rogelio , would cut up a whole turkey to make this fricasee. He did not like raisins in it, but I sure do.
Also, he never cooked with vino tinto,only vino seco .
I just love your photos and your whole approach. Your flexibility and openness to learn from others . Please keep this up !
And the mixture of Mexican and other influences, superb !

Nathan said...


Thank you for visiting my blog and thank you so much for the suggestions. I love eggplant and the flavor of celery. Never thought about incorporating them into a Fricassee but now that you mention it, it's something I must try next time I make a Fricassee. I love vegetables and am sure the addition of the celery will give it a special quality and crunch, and in addition the eggplant would soak up the delicious sauce and be meaty mmmm.... next time :-) I'll feature it in my blog sometime and give you credit :-)