Slow-Cooked Turkey with Mustard Sauce

The cool weather has finally arrived here in Sacramento, and with it the first rains of the season. Goodbye fresh corn and tomatoes, and hello stew! Over the years several of you have requested slow-cooker recipes and I’ve had to defer, because we didn’t have a slow cooker. But, that has changed and we’re now experimenting with it. By the way, the best book I’ve found on slow cooking is by Andrew Schloss, Art of the Slow Cooker. The trick to slow cooking is to brown the meat first, before you put it in the slow cooker. You’ll just get more flavor that way. Also root vegetables like carrots and parsnips will hold up better with long cooking than potatoes, so if you want potatoes in your stew, add them later in the cooking.

This stew is a braised riff off of one of my favorite recipes on the site, BBQ turkey with mustard sauce. Turkey is a wonderful protein, inexpensive and available, but can also be quite strongly flavored, especially the dark meat. I love the way that a mustard sauce holds its own with the turkey, mellowing the turkey flavor while at the same time enhancing the overall flavor of the stew. My parents each gave this one a two thumbs up. Hope you like it too!

Ingredients

  • 4 turkey thighs, skin on, bone-in
  • Salt
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 large parsnips, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2-3 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 heaping Tbsp dry mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle or chili powder
  • 4-6 Yukon Gold or other yellow potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup (packed) roughly chopped mustard greens, arugula, spinach, or parsley
  • 1/4 cup whole grain mustard

Method

1 Salt the turkey thighs well and set out at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2 Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat for a minute or two. Pat the turkey thighs dry with a paper towel and set them skin side down in the hot oil to brown. Turn the heat down to medium. Let them brown well, at least 3-5 minutes, before turning. Don’t crowd the pan, the meat needs air flow around it to brown properly. Cook the turkey in batches if needed. When the thighs are browned, place them in a slow cooker or Dutch oven.

3 Sauté the onions in the pan once the turkey has browned, then add them to the slow cooker or Dutch oven.

4 While the turkey and onions are browning, place the stock in a medium pot and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the brown sugar, yellow mustard (reserve the whole grain mustard for the end of the recipe), mustard powder, chipotle and a little salt. Cook for a minute and add salt to taste. Depending on how acidic your mustard is you may need to add a little cider or white vinegar as well.

5 Add the carrots and parsnips to the pot with the turkey and onions. Pour the sauce over everything until the liquid is about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the turkey and vegetables. Reserve any remaining sauce. Cover and simmer on low, or cover and turn the slow cooker on high.

6 Cook in a slow cooker for 4 hours on high, or in a Dutch oven for 1 hour on simmer.

7 Add the potatoes and a little more sauce, if you have any. Cover and cook another 1-2 hours in a slow cooker, or 30-45 minutes in the Dutch oven.

8 Before serving, remove the turkey pieces from the pot, strip off and discard the bones and the skin, return the turkey pieces to the pot. Stir in the mustard greens, arugula, or other greens you are using. Stir in the whole grain mustard. Adjust seasoning, adding more salt, chipotle powder, and mustard to taste.

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