One thing you’ll quickly notice about the cuisine of the Caribbean is that we ‘doh waste”. This usually means that things like necks, backs, feet.. even pigs ears, trotters and snouts are used to perfection in many of the dishes throughout the region. We never had turkey necks (or turkey as a matter of fact) when we were growing up, as it wasn’t a common poultry on the islands back in those days. How times have changed!
The boney texture of the turkey necks allows for a delicious curry and if you’re not squeamish, it will be one of the best curry dishes you ever enjoy. If you’re daring kick up the heat level as I find that a spicy curry takes on a whole new dimension.
3 lbs turkey necks
1 tablespoon Caribbean Green Seasoning
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon curry powder (for marinating the turkey)
2 scallions (green onions)
1 tomato (diced)
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper (or to your liking)
1 teaspoon ketchup
2 tablespoon veg oil
1 onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (diced)
1 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
3 cups water
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro – garnish at the end.
Wash, drain and marinate the turkey necks with the ingredients mentioned in the marinade list above. Overnight in the fridge will be best, but if you’re in a rush try to get about 2 hours.
Heat the oil on a medium flame then add the garlic and onion… reduce the heat to low and let it cook for about 3 minutes. Just to soften up and helps with a lovely flavor base. Then toss in the curry powder (heat still on low) and cook for another 2-4 minutes. This will toast the spices in the curry powder and help them bloom… plus it will cook the curry so you don’t get a raw curry taste at the end.
The curry will go darker in color and take on a grainy texture… then start clumping together. Turn up the heat to high and start adding the seasoned turkey necks to the pot. It’s ok if the marinade gets it there and try to deglaze the pot so we get all that lovely curry goodness from the bottom of the pot. After the necks take on a bit of color (about 2-3 minutes) reduce the heat to low, place the lid on the pot and cook for about 10 minutes. It will spring it’s own natural juices.
Then remove the lid, turn up the heat and grate in the ginger. This step is to do two things, burn off all the liquid and in the process give the dish a rich color and infuse it with massive curry flavor (stir). Pour the 3 cups of water into the same container you had the necks marinating in and swish it around to pick up any remaining marinade.
With all the liquid in the pot burnt off, add in the water and bring to a boil.
You’ll need some patience now.. turn the heat down to low and let it simmer (braise) for about 2 hours. The idea is to have very tender turkey necks when it’s all done.
* If you’d like you can certainly use a pressure cooker to cut back the cooking time for this dish by at least 1.5 hrs or if you want low and slow, a slow cooker will work as well. The first few steps must be done first though (cook curry powder, add seasoned turkey and then burn off initial liquid.. this will give you that rich curry flavor we expect from a good curry).
After a couple hrs you can now test for salt and adjust accordingly, if the gravy is thin you can turn up the heat and thicken it a bit more (or burn off all if you want a more infused curry) and top with some chopped cilantro or culantro (shado beni).
Treat this curry turkey necks as you would any curry meat dish.. goes well with rice, roti, ground provisions, flour dumplings and even bread! Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. Oh yea! Leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.