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!

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Slow-Cooked Turkey with Mustard Sauce Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 6-8

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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How to make mustard - Did you know it's easy to make mustard from scratch? Hank shows us how.

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16 Comments

  1. laura @ a little barefoot

    this looks absolutely delicious, and perfect for the cool fall we are having! this might be a silly question, but do you think this would work with white meat turkey, or would it dry out too much?

    Dark meat will hold up better with the long cooking. ~Elise

  2. Adam

    Any thought on using turkey legs? They’ve been on sale recently and seem to be begging me to make something with them.

    Yes, you could easily use turkey legs. ~Elise

  3. Adam

    Hmmm… I do love mustard, the mere mention of it is what made stop and read this, but straight yellow mustard sounds a little boring. Maybe it’s just me. I have some Dijon-style mustard that I enjoy, do you think it would overpower the dish if I substituted at least some for the yellow mustard as the recipe calls for?

    Yellow mustard is just mustard with some added turmeric, which gives it its bright yellow color. Turmeric is very good for you, so I would just keep the yellow mustard as is in the recipe, and add more vinegar or more whole seed mustard at the end of the recipe. ~Elise

  4. Darby "The Dessert Diva"

    This sounds divine. I think I will switch it up a bit and replace the yellow mustard with spicy brown or Dijon. We are not big yellow mustard people. I also think I will sneak in a few dried cranberries to make it feel “festive”. Yum Yum!

  5. Marita

    It’s nice to see a slow cooker stew recipe that uses something besides beef.

    What size slow cooker would you use for this?

    Great question, a 6-quart slow cooker would be ideal. ~Elise

  6. Maria

    This sounds great! Could I use chicken thighs instead of turkey?

    Sure could! ~Elise

  7. Mary

    This was a fantastic stew! We made it tonight for company with cornbread and it received rave reviews. I ended up using turkey drumsticks as I couldn’t find any thighs. I didn’t have yellow mustard, so I used spicy brown and added turmeric; and because I don’t handle spices too well, I omitted the chili. I also followed the dutch oven instructions to save time, but look forward to trying it again in the slow cooker.
    Even with those minor adjustments everything turned out perfectly. It even looked like the picture! Thanks again, Elise, for another wonderful dinner.

  8. Kris

    I made this today, minus the salt. It is very good, sort of a comfort food!

  9. Bella

    Generally speaking, where can you pick up turkey parts? My grocery only carries the drumsticks.

    We just get turkey thighs at our local grocery store. You can use drumsticks for this recipe, just be careful when you pull the meat from the bones as there are some tiny bones in the drumstick. ~Elise

  10. Neoli

    Love what you did here especially the bowl u used. (Am I the only one who’s commenting on the bowl and not the turkey? :)

  11. Yeni

    What a wonderful comfort food Elise! Worth the browning, etc. I made your Dad’s stew version instead of this one in the slow cooker, and added some dry mustard. Yum!

  12. Courtney

    I loved this, as did my husband and three year old! I cooked it in my crock pot on low for about 8 hours instead of high for 4 hours, and the veggies were tender without being mushy.

  13. Marita

    I finally got the chance to try this recipe this week. When you work outside the house all day those 4-hour cook times don’t work. To make this recipe work for me I browned the turkey, made the sauce and chopped the vegetables the night before and refrigerated it all. Then in the morning I threw everything in the crockpot and set it for 9 hours on low before I left for work. It turned out fantastic! I had the leftovers for lunch today and they were even better.

    I’ve never put turkey thighs in the crockpot before, but I’m going to try them with other recipes. They hold up to long cooking times so much better than chicken.

    Thanks Elise!

  14. Chris

    Excuse the silly question… Is yellow mustard the same as the stuff you put on hot dogs? It’s not a term I’ve heard of in England. (and does mustard come in other colours?)

    Hi Chris, yes, it’s the mustard you put on hot dogs. It has turmeric mixed in with the mustard which gives it a brighter yellow color. ~Elise

  15. Chris

    Made this today with chicken thighs (couldn’t find turkey legs or thighs anywhere). A fabulous recipe, bags of flavour and very little effort – my kind of recipe.

    Another winner Elise :)

    Thank you.

  16. Oralea Howard

    This was ridiculously tasty. It’s definitely going to be one of my regulars… as are quite a few recipes I’ve gotten from you! I used one gigantic turkey breast as I didn’t find thighs and didn’t want to go to another store searching. It still tasted divine to me! My husband would err on the side of dark meat always but I never buy it (although willing to give it a try here). He loved it too! Thank you!

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