In the realm of Southern cuisine, few dishes capture the essence of comfort food quite like Smothered Turkey Necks. This recipe, a staple Sunday dinner meal, combines roasted, oven-baked neck bones and rice, all generously drizzled in a flavorful gravy. It’s a dish that warms the heart and satisfies the soul.
What Exactly Are Turkey Necks?
Turkey necks are the bony and meaty portion of the turkey’s neck. They are versatile ingredients that can be used to make soups, stews, broths, or enjoyed as a delicious main dish. These small pieces of meat, found at the bottom part of the turkey’s neck, are often sold in packs of two or three. Feather-free and full of flavor, they become incredibly tender and delicious when baked.
Where Can You Find Them?
Turkey necks are readily available in local grocery stores, and you may even find them in specialty or Asian markets. Their accessibility makes it easier than ever to bring this soulful dish to your table.
How to Make Smothered Turkey Necks
Preparing smothered turkey necks is a straightforward process that yields fantastic results. Here’s a quick overview of the steps involved:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Place sliced onions at the bottom of a baking dish.
- Drizzle olive oil over both sides of the necks, then sprinkle them with spices.
- Arrange the seasoned necks over the onions.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake.
- Remove the foil, take out the turkey necks, and set them aside.
- Drizzle the gravy over the turkey.
- Bake a little longer to let the flavors meld together.
The Secret to Delicious Gravy
To make the best gravy for your smothered turkey necks, save the turkey drippings from the pan when you initially bake the turkey with onions. These drippings add a depth of flavor that elevates the dish. Combine butter, olive oil, flour, smoked paprika, garlic powder, turkey drippings, broth, and heavy cream to create a thick, rich, and comforting gravy.
Cooking Time and When It’s Done
Smothered turkey necks typically take around 2 1/2 to 3 hours to bake to perfection. To ensure they are fully cooked, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. According to the USDA, poultry must reach a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees to be safe to eat.
Versatility with Turkey Legs, Turkey Wings, and Chicken
If you prefer, you can also use turkey legs, turkey wings, or even chicken wings or drumsticks to create a similar dish. Just remember to adjust the cooking time and temperature accordingly. For chicken, the internal temperature should reach at least 165 degrees for safe consumption.
Storage and Freezing Tips
Store any leftover cooked turkey necks in the fridge, tightly covered, for 3-4 days. Alternatively, you can freeze them, tightly covered and sealed, for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy again, simply defrost the turkey necks overnight in the fridge and reheat.
Complete the Meal with Delicious Side Dishes
To complement your smothered turkey necks, consider pairing them with these mouthwatering side dish recipes:
- Slow Cooker Homemade Baked Beans
- Southern Corn Salad
- Chitterlings Recipe
- Patti LaBelle Potato Salad
- Collard Greens with Ham Hocks
- Southern Smothered Pork Chops
Explore More Turkey-Inspired Recipes
If turkey is a favorite in your household, why stop at smothered turkey necks? Try these other delightful turkey recipes:
- Smothered Turkey Wings
- Fried Turkey Recipe
- Smoked Turkey Breast
- Air Fryer Turkey Breast Tenderloin
- Pressure Cooker Turkey Breast
- Ground Turkey Tacos
Don’t miss the chance to savor the rich flavors and comforting goodness of smothered turkey necks. Visit Ekilove for the complete recipe and get ready to enjoy this soulful Southern classic.