For this fabulous and incredibly easy dish, I gamely share the credit with two brands that devote their expertize to wrapping food in bags. I will explain, keep reading.
This dish is called cholent only because it spent the night in a crockpot and was served on Shabbos. Other than that, no beans, no bones. The turkey keeps the whole dish lean even while it packs a great flavor punch, perfect for summer Shabbos meals and beyond; Crockpot turkey lends itself perfectly to the long cooking time. Wild rice: Ditto. At serving time you will create a sensation (what a shame we can’t take pictures on Shabbos: So little work, such a festive and dramatic presentation!). You will love the way the meat and the grain are separate but equal, which is the way we Sephardis always make our cholent.
I will give you the recipe exactly as I made it. Crockpot turkey thighs rock. Since it was amazing, I would say leave it quite alone. But if there is something you happen not to have on hand (for instance, juniper berries or sake), keep going.
The wild rice gets wrapped in Landau Wrap n Boil Bags, and the juniper berries and peppercorns get wrapped in David’s Tea Filters. Please read about these two brands. It behooves all of us who cook for shabbos to have both bags. Both are a snap to find online, and are ideally easy to use, and very inexpensive. It goes without saying that in the absence of these brands, you can get your own cheesecloth and cut it to size.
- 3-4 turkey thighs
- 1 large onion, sliced very thin
- 1 head garlic, all cloves separated and peeled
- 2 good pinches saffron
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 6 ribs celery, peeled and sliced thin
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups sake (health food stores) or dry white wine (liquor stores)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Salt to taste (not too much, the turkey has some salt)
- 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves only
- 1 small cheesecloth bag, such as David's Tea Filter, filled with 2 tablespoons juniper berries and 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, tightly closed
- 6-8 pitted dates, sliced
- 3 cups wild rice
- 1 large cheesecloth bag, such as Landau Wrap n Boil Bag
Place the first set of ingredients in a crockpot, and mix thoroughly to distribute all ingredients evenly. Wrap the rice loosely in the cheesecloth bag, so as to give the rice ample room to grow, and tie the bag securely (ignore the few grains that will escape through the bag, no big deal). Place the rice bag over the first set of ingredients. It will not be immersed by the liquids in the pot, that's OK, plenty of liquids and steam will be released during cooking time. Cover the pot and set on medium-low just before Shabbos.
At serving time, empty the contents of the rice bag into one side of the platter. Arrange the turkey on the other side, removing the bones and breaking it up as you go. Pour the gravy over all.