Turkey necks are an often overlooked cut of the bird, as they have little substance compared to meatier cuts like breasts and wings. However, they are a welcome ingredient in many different dishes, and are adept at providing a deep and comforting flavor to many meals. Try this economical cut of meat to boldly season a dish or as an inexpensive main course, and be amazed at the taste explosion that a neck packs. Cook turkey necks slow and long to enhance their tenderness.
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Smothered Turkey Necks and Gravy
Buy a package of turkey necks to have them smothered them in gravy, a filling dish best served over rice. Brown the turkey necks in a couple tablespoons of bacon grease in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove the necks from the pot and set aside. Saute a mix of onions, celery, red bell peppers or other aromatics until they become tender. Make a roux by adding some flour and mixing it well with the vegetables. Incorporate chicken stock, stirring well to prevent lumping. Add the turkey necks back to the pot, cover and simmer for two hours, or just until the meat is falling off of the bones.
Greens With Turkey Necks
Turkey necks are often used to help flavor long-cooked collard greens. If you have smoked necks, add one to a pot of water, and bring to a boil. If you have fresh turkey necks, brown them in a bit of oil first before bringing a pot of water to a boil and adding the greens. Turn the heat down, and allow the greens to simmer for several hours until very tender. Season with salt and pepper, then serve.
Turkey Neck Soup
Turkey soup is commonly made from the carcass of a cooked turkey, however turkey necks can be used in much the same way. Brown the turkey necks in a pot to bring out their flavor, then remove and set aside. Saute a mix of aromatics, like onions, celery and carrots, until tender, and add the turkey necks back into the pot. Cover everything with a generous portion of water, and allow them to simmer for two to three hours, or until the meat is tender. Remove the turkey necks and let cool. Once they're cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the necks, and return it to the pot. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Add rice or noodles if desired.
Turkey Neck Gravy
Turkey necks make a great economical gravy. One neck is more than enough to season a large serving dish of gravy. Brown a fresh neck in a small pot with a little oil, then cover it with water. Simmer for about two hours, until the meat is falling off of the bones. Remove the neck and, when cool enough, remove its meat, and return it to the pot. Create a slurry by mixing water and flour together in a small bowl in equal proportion; add in a cup of broth from the pot, and mix well. Add this slurry back into the pot, and simmer for a few more minutes until thickened. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.