Turkey risotto is a wonderful way to use up leftover turkey after the holidays. It makes good use of the carcass, and the silky rice and rice cheese and butter make this a champ dish anytime, not just after Thanksgiving.
I use wild turkey here, because I am a hunter, but any turkey will do. You make turkey risotto with scraps of leftover meat and a nice broth. You do need to first make turkey broth. It’ll make more than you need for this recipe, so you can use the rest for any number of other recipes, notably my Southwest style turkey leg stew, which you can also make with leftovers.
Once you have your stock, the risotto comes together easily.
The key with turkey risotto, or really any risotto, is the rice, and paying attention while cooking it. I use arborio or carnaroli rice from Italy, but Spanish bomba rice works well, too. Do not use long-grain rice or Asian short grain rices.
For the sage, I use either wild California white sage or regular garden sage because I have both growing in my yard. Be sure to use fresh sage, not dried. Also, it is important to brown the butter before adding the shallot because it imparts a nutty flavor you want with this dish.
As for the cheese, I use pecorino. You can use parmesan or any good grating cheese.
Wild Turkey Risotto
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 6 cups good turkey broth
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
- 1/2 pound shredded cooked turkey
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
- Make sure your turkey broth is hot in a nearby pot.
- Heat half the butter in a saucier or medium pot over medium-high heat. Let it brown, and the moment it does, add the shallot and sauté 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the rice and stir-fry it for 1 to 2 minutes, coating the grains with the butter.
- Start with 2 ladles full of the hot stock, about 1 cup. Stir vigorously, then gently, almost constantly as the broth evaporates and becomes incorporated into the rice. When the liquid is almost gone — you do not want the bottom of the pot to sizzle — add another ladle full of stock and repeat the stirring. If you don’t stir constantly you will not get the creamy starch to come off the rice and make your sauce.
- After 2 ladles full of stock have gone in, add the sage. Start with 1 tablespoon, and if you want to add more, do so near the end of the cooking time. Taste for salt and add as needed; it will depend on your stock. Continue cooking, adding a little stock at a time and stirring for about 25 to 30 minutes. Taste the rice after 20 minutes, and then monitor it. You may need more or less than 6 cups of broth. I like my risotto loose, so I add another splash of broth in at the end.
- Once your rice is done to your liking, stir in the rest of the butter, the shredded turkey and cheese and let it cook another couple minutes.
Keys to Success
- Take your time. Risotto takes some time, and can't be rushed. Stir more than you think you should.
- The broth needs to be good, so homemade is best. If you want to vary things a little, sub in 1 cup of white wine for 1 cup of stock.
- The amount of shredded turkey is a guide. Sometimes I use less.
- Always add a small splash of broth or water at the end, to keep the risotto loose.