After breasting out my turkey, I also took out the legs. Looking at it, it didn't look too bad, not as bad as people often say. In my hands, they felt workable. There was enough meat to make a small pot of turkey noodle soup, and that excited me to get an additional meal out of my turkey where most people would throw those parts away.
I've been told again and again that turkey legs are tough and not good eating, that you have to boil them for 2 weeks (ha-ha) to make them even remotely edible. After making this dish, I have to say that I don't agree. I sometimes wonder if hunters say these kinds of things out of a misguided, yet innocent, tradition-- because their fathers, grandfathers or buddies taught them to say it, because it's one of those things everyone says to feel a part of the "club," without really trying it and judging for themselves.
You know what I think? (Not that I'm telling you already.) I think some cave man long ago messed up on cooking his turkey legs. Too proud to admit that he's a poor cook, he lied about it, and now we're all paying for it many years later.
If my hypothesis is incorrect, then I have no idea where y'all get the idea that wild turkey legs are so bad, because my turkey leg noodle soup was DEEEE-LICIOUS. What's more, I did nothing special to it. I treated it like chicken legs. I boiled it, then shredded it and put it back in the pot to simmer with the veggies. Worked out great. My only regret was not taking home those legs that my other hunting companions threw away.
Remember that every part of an animal has its place. You wouldn't cook stew meat the same way that you would a filet mignon, would you? And expect the same results? That's nonsense.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
- 2 wild turkey legs (drumsticks and thighs), skinned is fine
- 7 cups of water
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1/4 of a medium onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon of Hungarian paprika
- 1 generous pinch of dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons of fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 cups of egg noodles, uncooked
- 3 to 5 fronds of fennel (optional)
1. Place turkey legs in a large pot with 7 cups of water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes, covered.
2. Take out the legs, then shred the meat with forks, reserving the bones. Set the meat aside.
Then return the bones to the broth and simmer for an additional 45 minutes, covered. Afterwards, remove the bones and discard, making sure to get any small bones that may have broken off.
3. Next, add the chopped carrots, onion, celery and shredded turkey meat into the broth, followed by white pepper, coriander, salt, paprika, parsley and pinch of thyme, grinding the thyme between your fingers. Simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Next, increase heat and add egg noodles. Cook until tender, following package directions. Stir occasionally.
During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the fennel fronds and simmer. Then remove and discard the fronds. This is optional, but the fennel make the soup's flavor sweeter, more aromatic and complex.
5. Make sure noodles and veggies are tender. Add more salt, if necessary. Finally, ladle into individual bowls and serve with crusty bread or crackers.