Cooking turkey necks with your cabbage takes a little longer, but it gives you a clear, flavorful broth for your time. Unlike the usual proteins used to give braised cabbage its body, such as ham hocks or bacon, turkey necks keep the broth clear and flavor it with the abundance of gelatin that melts from them during cooking. You're not limited to basic white cabbage, either; just about any green in the brassica family, such as kale, collard greens and turnip greens, cook the same way.
Chop the turkey necks into 1- to 2-inch pieces if whole and add them to a stockpot. Add enough water to just cover the turkey necks.
Add basic aromatic ingredients to the pot, like a mirepoix, or chopped onions, carrots and celery; bay leaves and thyme sprigs; and black peppercorns. Bring the water to a boil.
Boil the turkey necks for 5 minutes, skimming the water as needed. Lower the heat so the water simmers.
Simmer the turkey necks for about 1 hour and season the broth to taste with kosher salt. Add enough chopped or wedged cabbage to fill the pot and cook until tender; cooking time varies with the variety of cabbage, but common white cabbage takes about 15 minutes.
Take the neck bone and bay leaves out of the cabbage. Pick the meat from the neck bones and chop it. Return the chopped meat to the pot.
Stir the cabbage and season to taste a final time. Serve while hot.
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- A pot full of cabbage cooked in a few inches of broth has the consistency of a hearty stew after it reduces. Reduce the amount of cabbage if you want a soupier consistency.
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.