This surprising turkey neck dish was prepared by George & John chef Tomer Tal as part of Cafe Asif’s House Pot project, an event where every week a chef or home cook prepares a dish close to their heart. Rich in flavor, turkey necks are affordable and most often used in soups and stocks. But, their meat also becomes tender when braised like it is here with root vegetables and tangy pomegranate molasses.
Make sure to use good quality pomegranate molasses. Look for bottles without added sugar at Cafe Asif’s deli, the Habshush spice shop in the Levinsky Market, or your favorite spice shop.
Check out more recipes from Cafe Asif’s House Pot project.
5-6 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 (approx. 5 ½ – 6 ½ lb or 2½ -3 kg) turkey necks, halved (ask your butcher)
4 carrots, coarsely chopped
4 onions, coarsely chopped
4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 leeks, dark green parts removed, roughly chopped
10 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup (240ml) good-quality pomegranate molasses
4 cups (960ml) water
¼ bunch parsley
5 sage stalks
Ground black pepper
For the glaze:
2-3 tablespoons high-quality pomegranate molasses
Squash like kabocha, oven-roasted and sliced
- Preheat the oven to 325F (160C).
- Heat a little olive oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add the turkey necks and cook until browned well on all sides. You may need to do this in 2-3 batches. Transfer to a plate or tray.
- Add the chopped vegetables to the pot and, if necessary, a little bit more oil. Fry while occasionally stirring until golden brown. Add the fried turkey necks.
- Combine the pomegranate molasses and water and pour into the pot, completely covering the necks and the vegetables (if necessary, add more liquid keeping the same 1:4 ratio). Place the parsley and sage on top, season with salt and ground black pepper and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat.
- Place parchment paper over the pot, tightly seal with a sheet of aluminum foil, cover with the lid and transfer to the oven for 3 hours.
- Prepare the glaze: Strain the cooking liquids and transfer to a clean pot (reserve the necks for later). Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. This may take time, so be patient.
- Cook to a thick and dark glossy syrup. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste; add sweetness with a little honey or grape molasses, and pomegranate concentrate for more acidity. If the flavor is good but the glaze is not thick enough, add a little cornstarch (1 teaspoon or so) dissolved in a little water and stir to the desired consistency.
- Add the turkey necks and cook 2-3 minutes while gently stirring, until they are fully coated in glaze. Best served alongside roasted pumpkin and a fresh green salad.