Marcus Samuelsson: Smothered Turkey Legs with Persimmon Salad

April 20, 2016


By Marcus Samuelsson

In my take on a Low-Country smothered chicken dish, I introduce an Asian-twist with chiles, peanuts, and kalamansi, an exotic citrus fruit. While I use some ingredients that can be hard to find, you can substitute more familiar options, like soy sauce for the thick Indonesian sauce ketjap manis. Served with a tart persimmon salad, these turkey legs make for a festive end-of-week celebration.

Smothered Turkey Legs with Persimmon Salad


For Turkey

  • 4 whole turkey legs, cut into legs and thighs
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp chopped thyme
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • One 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp unsalted, roasted, skinless peanuts
  • 2 tbsp Szechuan pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 red Thai chiles, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp ketjap manis
  • 1/2 cup kalamansi juiceor juice of 1/2 orange and 2 limes
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
  • Persimmon Salad, recipe follows

For Persimmon Salad

  • 3 cups grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup rice flakes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 3 persimmons, each cut into 6 pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup stemmed watercress
  • 1 cup frisee
  • 2 tbsp chopped basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


To Make Persimmon Salad:

1. Heat the grapeseed oil to 350º F in a deep pot. Add the rice flakes and fry until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain excess out. Set aside.

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2. To make the vinaigrette, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small saute pan over low heat. Add the sesame seeds and saute for 2 minutes. Add the sesame oil, jalapea±o, soy sauce, sugar, lime juice, and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Let cool to room temperature.

3. Toss the persimmons, tomatoes, onion, watercress, frisee, basil, and cilantro in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and garnish with the fried rice flakes.

To Make Turkey:

1. Place the turkey legs and thighs in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with the salt and thyme. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and brush off any excess salt.

2. Heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pot, brown the turkey legs and thighs on both sides. Return the turkey to the pot and add the chicken stock, vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours, skimming foam as it rises to the top of the liquid. Remove the turkey from the pot. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking liquid.

3. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the peanuts, Szechuan pepper, garlic, and chiles and saute until the peanuts are golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved cooking liquid, the tomato paste, ketjap manis, and kalamansi juice and bring to a simmer. Add the turkey legs and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and scallions and serve with the persimmon salad.

Via Marcus Samuelsson

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