On Thanksgiving day, I am not a big fan of dark meat. Howevever, I have found that I do enjoy dark meat in a variety of post-Thanksgiving dishes and am always on the look out for a new one. Last night, I decided to make a simple dark meat ragu and the result may be my favorite yet. Make sure you give yourself enough time to let the ragu slowly simmer for at least two and a half hours so the dark meat can break down into soft, flavorful strands. —gingerroot
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until it shimmers. Add onion, stirring to cook and prevent onion from sticking or burning. Cook until onion begins to soften, about two minutes.
Add carrots, stirring occasionally. Cook until carrots begin to soften, about five minutes.
Add garlic, celery and green pepper. Stir and cook for two minutes more. Stir in dried basil.
Add dark turkey meat. Stir to combine.
Add red wine and sugar.
Add cans of diced tomato, with juice. Stir mixture and bring to a simmer. Cover and turn down to low. Let ragu simmer for at least 2 1/2 hours to allow flavors to develop.
Stir in one can of tomato paste and continue to simmer for 30 minutes more. Taste for salt and pepper, adding if necessary or desired. Add fresh basil and give ragu a stir. Serve with pasta, leftover mashed potatoes or other starch of choice; sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.
My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love.
Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.