Turkey, Cabbage and Leek Risotto; a story

It’s been such a strange spring that I barely stopped cooking pumpkin and there is already asparagus in the markets.

In between, we did manage to eat a broccoli, a cauliflower and a Savoy cabbage.

When one cooks for two, both cauliflower and cabbage require advance planning to use it all.

I may have to try cauliflower in risotto some day….

For now, it uses up a cabbage nicely.

I even found a few leaves of tarragon to add at the end.

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Turkey, Cabbage and Leek Risotto

Remember: Risotto is easy !

  • Author: Katie Zeller
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Risotto


  • 2/3 cup (4.2oz, 125gr) Arborio rice (or other rice specifically for risotto – Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
  • 1/2 medium leek about 1/2 cup, sliced
  • 1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) dry, white wine
  • 2 1/4 cups (18oz, 540ml) chicken stock
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (2oz, 60gr) Parmesan cheese – freshly grated
  • Condimenti
  • 10oz (300gr) turkey scallops, (or tenderloin) cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 1/2 medium leeks, trimmed, sliced
  • 2 cups Savoy or green cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs chopped, fresh tarragon or 1/2 tsp dried


  • Heat chicken stock and keep hot over low heat.
  • In medium sauce pan heat butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add 1/2 leek and sauté until tender.
  • Add rice and sauté, stirring, for 2 – 3 minutes until rice has white center.
  • Add white wine and stir.
  • Start condimenti.
  • When wine is almost absorbed add a 1/3 cup of stock, stir.  (No need to stir constantly but do stir from time to time.)
  • When stock is almost absorbed add another 1/3 cup and continue adding 1/3 cup at a time and stirring.
  • Before adding the last 1/3 cup taste a few kernels of rice. They should be just ‘al dente’ – slightly resistant to the tooth, but fully cooked.
  • If more stock is needed add it 1/8 cup at a time and waiting until almost completely absorbed.
  • At this point risotto will be thick but not stiff – there will still be visible liquid and it will not hold it’s shape on a plate.
  • Add the Parmesan, condimenti, stir well, spoon into a bowl or risotto platter and serve immediately.
  • Condimenti:
  • While risotto is cooking, heat oil in medium skillet.
  • Add remaining 1 1/2  leeks and sauté until tender, 5 – 7 minutes.
  • Add turkey and sauté until cooked through.
  • Add cabbage and sauté 5 minutes longer.
  • Add 1/4 cup of chicken stock, tarragon, cover and simmer until cabbage is done, Keep warm until needed for risotto.


Green or Savoy cabbage doesn’t need as much cooking time as the more common white cabbage. If using white, add 10 minutes or cut more finely.

Keywords: risotto, turkey, cabbage, leeks

Turkey, Cabbage and Leek Risotto

Has anyone read ‘Milkman’, by Anna Burns? It’s not an easy read. The author rather likes run-on sentences, is a bit enthusiastic in her use of adjectives, similes, and metaphors but disdains paragraphs and chapters.  It’s a challenging book….but, surprisingly enjoyable, funny, outrageous and sad.

The reason I’m telling you this is because the author chose not to use any names for any of the characters or places in the novel. It’s written in the first person and the other characters are merely identified: brother, sister, maybe-boyfriend, milkman, etc.; places are other side, over the road, etc.

I’ve decided to use the same ruse to tell this…..

The other day, late afternoon, Friend called from across the water. She told me that Brother (hers) and Nephew were staying at her house near us here in France. Brother had gone for a run around noon and not returned. Nephew had called her and said that Brother’s phone was not being answered and he was worried.

Now Friend was worried. Could we go out looking?

Mon mari drove around the area for the next 90 minutes, until it was too dark to see. Nothing.

Friend decided it was time to call the police. She asked if we could go to her house to be with Nephew and translate. Neither Brother nor Nephew spoke any French.

We drove over to the house. Three Gendarmes arrived shortly after, complete with bullet-proof jackets and assault rifles. Being French, of course they were smiling, greeted each of us and shifted the rifles around to shake hands.

There were a lot of questions: Physical and mental health? Both excellent. Any medications? No. What was he wearing? Warm weather running gear – it had been a gorgeous day. Did he know the area? Not at all…. even those of us who know it can get lost. Did he have a phone? Yes, with presumed dead battery. And so on….

After the general questions, there were specific questions: high blood pressure? headaches? problems at home? color of running shorts? brand of running shoes? And so on….

The area hospitals were called as well as the taxi services and ambulance services. Nothing.

Two of the Gendarmes walked around the village, talked to the neighbors, checked swimming pools, etc.

Three more Gendarmes joined us. Lengthy, rapid discussions ensued. Everyone was worried about the temperature. Freezing was expected over night. It was decided that the tracker dog and infra-red helicopter be called. As both came from large cities in opposite directions, it would be at least an hour.

Meantime, Friend, Friend’s Husband, and Brother’s Wife were becoming increasingly anxious. Fearing the worst, they all booked early morning flights.

Around 10:00 pm the regional commander of the Gendarmes came in to oversee the operation.

There were more questions…. more phone calls….. more speculation.

A half an hour later the dog and handler arrived, They were not particularly hopeful as it had been a long time and, apparently, runners are harder to track than, say, walkers.

As the commander spoke excellent English, and there was nothing we could do, mon mari and I went home. We heard the helicopter fly over a few times later that night.

Early the next morning, Friend called. Brother had just returned – to the waiting arms of the Gendarmes…. Who were very happy to see him.

We may never know the details, but:

He had forgotten to charge his phone – but he doesn’t really like the GPS anyway. He did get lost and became somewhat disoriented, but he thought he could find his way. When it started to get dark he realized he was truly lost and found a place to spend the night (barn? hay rack? herd of cows?) He has had survival training so apparently knew what to do. When the sun came up he went up the nearest hill, spotted the church steeple and ran back,

According to reports he was, ahem, somewhat embarrassed by it all,

According to reports the Gendarmes were gracious, conducted a short interview and verified that he didn’t need medical treatment.

We may never know the whole story….

We were very impressed by the Gendarmes. They were thorough, efficient and…. so very nice!

I hope I never have to talk to them again. Well, a social occasion would be fine….

‘Milkman’ won the 2018 Man Booker Prize for fiction.

6 thoughts on “Turkey, Cabbage and Leek Risotto; a story”

  1. Great story, but there’s no way I could spend any time in an entire book written like that. I’m very glad that nothing untoward happened though. Very scary when a loved one goes missing!

    We’re trying to avoid the carbs here. As much as I like rice and as delicious as this looks, I’ll have to wait to make this. In the meantime, I have cabbage, cabbage and more cabbage. I’ve made it sauteed in bacon fat, returning the bacon and adding onions, which is SO yummy! Using it as a bed for sheet pan chicken thighs with onion and mushroom…Our favorite though is cabbage and noodles. Alas, those are also off the menu for now.

  2. J’adore risotto!

    And. I LOVE runon sentences and even though I may have difficulty if there are no names for the characters, after carefully avoiding reading any more just in case there are big spoilers, I went to our online library to see if I could get the book and I’m now Hold No.741 on 75 copies – I’m steeling myself, getting ready to wonder when the text is dialogue and how to guess who is speaking or when it’s simply description – rats I can’t think of any similes to throw into this comment – it’s as if I don’t speak English – I’m as blank as a shiny new coilbound notebook with tear-out pages!

    (Ha! That was almost as fun as playing the alliteration game!)

    • There is no dialogue…. just running commentary. I am having a love / hate relationship with it and it’s taking me forever to read it. I am learning a lot about the time / place, tho.
      Glad to see you recaptured your native tongue 😉
      I think this is a book to be savored slowly – like wine. Also, with wine.

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