Prep time: 30 minutes or less. Cook time: 3 1/2 hours to “confit”, 30 minutes to crisp and serve.
- 4 whole turkey wings,
- 3 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons coarsely ground fresh black pepper
- 12 sprigs fresh thyme – leaves and tender part of stems only
- 8 medium cloves of peeled garlic. 6 for Step 2, plus 2 more cloves for Step 5
- 12 sprigs fresh Italian parsley, stems included
- 4 whole, dried bay leaves
- 6 cups rendered duck fat or good quality olive oil (or a combination of the two)
1) Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the “drumstick” portion of the wing from the middle/tip – you should have 8 pieces total.
2) Pulse the 6 cloves of garlic and the herbs with the salt in the bowl of a food processor until a coarse, green “dust” has formed. Add the black pepper and pulse until just mixed. Rub the salt mixture over all sides of all parts of the wings until evenly coated and place in a glass, ceramic or enameled container. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight (8-12 hours) to “dry cure”. This will not only infuse flavor into the meat but will draw some water out, concentrating the flavor of the turkey itself. (Note: I often use the enameled cast-iron pot I’ll be cooking in to save on cleanup.)
3) The next morning, preheat the oven to 375F. Remove the wings from the refrigerator, rinse off as much of any remaining herb herbs/salt mixture as you can and pat dry with a paper towel. If you’re using the same pot in the oven, rinse and dry it, too. If using duck fat, melt it over low heat until liquefied and set aside to cool slightly. Place the wing pieces into a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, packing the pieces as close together as possible. Add remaining 2 cloves of garlic. Pour duck fat, olive oil, or combination over wings until wings are fully covered. Cover the wings and the top of the oil with a sheet of parchment paper or foil, then cover the pot with a well-fitting lid and place in the oven. NOTE: you may want to set a rimmed baking sheet under the pot to catch drips in the case your confit bubbles over a little.
4) Reduce the oven temperature to 225F and cook for 3 to 3 ½ hours until the meat is quite tender but not completely falling off the bone. Remove from the oven.
5) Allow to cool for 30 minutes to an hour before handling the turkey. Refrigerate the wing pieces and the oil, stored either together or separately, until needed. (If kept together, fully covered in oil, the meat should keep 2 weeks or more. If kept apart, use the turkey within a few days.)
6) When you’re ready to serve, carefully remove the wings from the oil and roast on a rimmed baking sheet in a 400F oven for 20 minutes, turning once, or in a skillet large enough to hold the pieces in a single layer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally until browned and crisp on all sides. Drain and serve anywhere from piping hot to room temperature,
(A SECRET: there’s a rich and flavorful stock that settles below the oil during Step 4, I separate it and save it to use in soups, stocks or sauces – it freezes too! And strain and save the oil too – it can be used again to make confit or works brilliantly to roast or sauté vegetables or potatoes.)