When most of us think of turkey, what's the first thing that leaps into mind? Was it Thanksgiving and Christmas? After the holidays it can be common for us to pass by the turkey in the deli or frozen food section, which we think is a shame. Turkey tends to get overlooked during non-holiday themed meals, and this succulent, protein-rich meat deserves a second chance on your table during any weeknight.
Especially one of the most overlooked parts of the turkey: the wings. Turkey wings cook nearly exactly like chicken wings but are budget-friendly and as versatile to different flavors and dishes as chicken wings too.
Originating in the Americas, the wild-caught turkey was known for its rich and gamey flavor. And while some of that flavor has changed, depending on whether you eat wild-caught or farm fresh, it still packs a healthy, tasty punch to any meal.
Turkey's wings also are white-meat, not dark meat and tend to have more flavor than the turkey breast on their own. You can enhance that flavor even more by smoking the turkey wings or using pre-cooked, smoked turkey wings.
Some amazing traditional turkey dishes that make use of these often-disregarded parts of the turkey have been around for some years, but you may not be aware of them.
Here are some of our favorite dishes that take advantage of this affordable, delicious meat.
Buffalo Smoked Turkey Wings
- 4 smoked turkey wings, split into wingettes and drumettes
- Oil for drizzling
- Kosher salt and pepper
Blue Cheese Dip:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon of sour cream
- 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cup of favorite hot sauce
- Carrot and celery sticks for serving if desired
Wings: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Arrange your wings on a cooling rack inside a baking sheet, making sure they are dry. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the baking sheet and tent the entire pan with foil.
Bake the wings for roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes, removing the foil and continuing to bake until you note the skin is crispy, brown, and reach an internal temperature in the thickest part at 165 degrees F.
To make the dip during cooking, whisk together mayonnaise, blue cheese, heavy cream, sour cream, lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Set aside in the fridge until ready to eat.
To make the sauce: melt your butter in a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, 1-2 minutes. Remove from the microwave and add your favorite hot sauce, then whisk to combine. Brush your wings out of the oven with your sauce and serve with your blue cheese dip, carrots, and celery.
Smoked Turkey Lentil Soup
Warm, smokey, and filling should be requirements of hot soup for every bowl. Luckily, smoked turkey lentil soup will do exactly that. While it's a simple recipe ingredient-wise, once melded together and cooked it becomes a complex layering of wood smoke, flavorful turkey meat, and earthy lentils.
What you'll need:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 16oz can of whole tomatoes, chopped, juices set aside
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup green or brown lentils
- ¾ lbs. smoke turkey wing
- 4 small potatoes, peeled and sliced
- ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley or 4 teaspoons dried
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
To make this soup, place the oil in a large pot and heat it. Add your garlic, celery, carrots, and onion, and cook over moderate heat stirring occasionally until softened. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, lentils, and smoked turkey wings with 2 quarts of water then bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer, stirring occasionally until the lentils are very tender or about 1 hour. Add your potatoes, and simmer until they are tender or about 10 minutes.
Once potatoes are tender, remove the turkey wings from your soup, take the meat off the bones and return it to the soup. Discard skin, bones, and bay leaf. Add the parsley then salt and pepper the soup to taste. Ladle it in your favorite bowl and serve, sprinkling the cheese before eating or at the table.
Southern Collard Greens and Smoked Turkey
A Southern favorite, a good bowl of seasoned collard greens is a soul-food steeped in African American history.
What you need:
- 1 and ½ lb smoked turkey wings
- 1 bunch of collard greens
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, diced
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Seasoning (optional), salt, pepper, vinegar, hot sauce
To begin, remove the collard green leaf from the stem. Wash the greens several times to get rid of any grit or dirt in cold water. After rinsing well, set aside.
Next, in a large pot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and the chopped onion and garlic. Sauté until they are tender.
Add the chicken broth into the large pot with the onions and garlic, add red pepper flakes and the smoked turkey wings. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 or 30 minutes, so the broth can pick up on the turkey's smokiness.
Now add the collard greens and simmer covered for another 45-60 minutes or until your greens reach your desired tenderness.