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Turkey Thighs — with Pumpkin Stuffing under the skin!

September 2, 2011 by Joan Nova in Poultry, Stuffing, Vegetables | 6 Comments

Who likes the dark meat? Me, me, me!

I’m often asked how I come up with my recipes so occasionally I share the thought process that led me to the recipe presented. As regular readers know, I take great pleasure in the development phase of everything I cook — almost as much as I enjoy the eating phase. :)

In this case, I was working on another recipe that required about 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin puree. I saved the unused portion of pumpkin thinking I would make ravioli with wonton skins (I don’t do dough, said in a voice similar to Arnold Schwarzenegger)…but then I saw the turkey thighs when I was at the market and I knew immediately what I was going to do…a mini Thanksgiving with turkey, stuffing and pumpkin!

Next thought was…why not turn the pumpkin into a yummy, savory stuffing? And why not put it under the skin so it absorbs all the turkey juices/fat?

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday meal, but there’s always so much food. Even a bite of this and a bite of that winds up being belly-busting. It’s hard to appreciate And it always leaves me feeling unsatisfied (the next day) that I didn’t get enough turkey so it pleases me no end that turkey parts are readily available any time and we don’t have to wait till the third week in November!

4.0 from 1 reviews
Turkey Thighs -- with Pumpkin Stuffing under the skin!
The pumpkin works as a moistener and stuffing binder holding everything together.
  • 2 turkey thighs
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • ½ cup whole wheat panko
  • ½ green onion minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 dates minced
  • 6 almonds chopped
  • ¼ cup minced ham
  • 1 heaping tbs parmesan cheese
  • pinch of parsley minced
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • sage leaves
How To
  1. Blend all stuffing ingredients.
  2. Gently lift the skin from the meat, leaving one end intact.
  3. Take this opportunity to rub a little olive oil and season the meat.
  4. Pat down the stuffing directly on meat.
  5. Add sage leaf, pull skin over, rub oil and seasonings on skin.
  6. Cook covered in 325 degrees for about 30-45 minutes and then remove cover; continue roasting till thermometer registers correct internal temperature and skin crisps (place under broiler for a couple of minutes if necessary).
1. These thighs were plump and could easily serve 3-4 people. 2. I didn't de-bone the thighs before cooking, but it sure would have made it easier for presentation and sharing.

Loved, loved, loved the pumpkin stuffing!
It was creamy but not too much because of the panko…it was sweet and savory at the same time…and there was the occasional crunch from the almonds. It would a make an equally good accompaniment to a pork roast or stuffed in a pork chop too. I encourage you to try this one!


NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. Mary says:

    What a great idea! This really sounds delicious and I know my family would love this. I hope you have a fabulous weekend. Blessings…Mary
    Mary recently posted..50 Women Game Changers in Food – #13 Rachael Ray – Mexican LasagnaMy Profile

  2. Katie says:

    Yum! Unfortunately, turkey is really hard to come by here in Argentina (just not popular–horrors!), but I like your suggestion of serving it with a pork roast.
    Katie recently posted..Flights Resume Between Necochea and Buenos AiresMy Profile

  3. Arlene says:

    It’s dark meat all the way at my house. Coincidentally, I’ve been on the hunt for a turkey the past 3 weeks and all that’s available are turkey breasts. Salt lick, anyone? This recipe is making my mouth water, though I confess to never having used pumpkin in a stuffing. Now I’m going to have to broaden my search for a turkey since I don’t want to wait until November either.
    Arlene recently posted..GRILLED CHICKEN WITH COLA SAUCEMy Profile

  4. I have always loved and appreciated your thought processes when it comes to food. And thank you for sharing those! This is another clever idea Joan…and delicious too!

  5. Bren says:

    you don’t do dough! who knew! I love when people share how they conceptualized a recipe. and like many, i don’t like to waste food, so using reserve of anything to make something new makes perfect sense. this is a wonderful transition food. and i’m with you: all about the dark meat!

  6. Great idea to make the pumpkin stuffing, and it sounds fantastic!

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