Turkey Stew with Root Vegetables

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Filling, delicious, and affordable, this turkey stew is made with turkey thighs or legs, slow cooked with onion, celery, carrots and other root vegetables.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

One of my father’s favorite dishes to make in the winter is a hearty turkey stew with lots of root vegetables like rutabagas, turnips, and carrots. It’s warming, filling, and a big batch will last all week for several meals of leftovers.

It’s also very easy on the budget, which is probably why we had it so much growing up. You make it with turkey thighs (or legs), which, in addition to being the tastier dark meat, you can usually get for $1.50 per pound or less.

Turkey Stew with Root Vegetables

Slow cooking the turkey thighs bone-in, you get all of the healthy goodness and flavor from the bone marrow. Cooking them with skin on also coats the turkey with flavor. Turnips and rutabagas, which can be rather strong tasting, hold up beautifully with the also strong-tasting dark turkey meat.

Updated from the recipe archive, first posted in 2005.

Turkey Stew with Root Vegetables Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8.

Save time by prepping the root vegetables during the first stage of the stew's oven cooking.


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 lbs turkey thighs (preferred) or legs (skin on, bone in)
  • 1 medium-large yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 quart (4 cups) chicken, turkey, or vegetable stock
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, 1/4 inch slices (about 1 1 /4 cups)
  • 1-2 medium turnips, peeled, 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 medium rutabaga, peeled, halved, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de provence*
  • Freshly ground black pepper

*Herbes de Provence is a delightful French blend of herbs - Winter savory, thyme, basil, tarragon, and lavender flowers. If you don't have herbes de provence, you can substitute with an Italian herb mix.


1 Preheat oven to 300°F. Heat olive oil on medium high heat in a Dutch oven on the stove top. Wash and pat dry turkey pieces. Working in batches if necessary, brown the turkey thighs, first skin side down, 2-3 minutes on each side. Sprinkle the thighs with a little salt as you brown them.

2 Once the thighs have browned, remove them from the pan and set them in a bowl. Add the onions and celery to the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes or so, until the onions are translucent and starting to brown at the edges. Return the turkey thighs to the pot.

3 Add 2 teaspoons of salt and half of the stock. Bring to a simmer, remove from the stove top and put in the oven, covered, for an hour and fifteen minutes.

4 After an hour and fifteen minutes, remove from oven and add the rest of the vegetables—carrots, turnips, rutabaga, and potatoes, the herbs, and the rest of the stock. Return to the oven, covered, and cook until tender, another 45 minutes or more.

5 Remove the turkey thighs from the stew and place in a bowl to cool. When cool enough to handle, strip the meat off the bones. Discard the bones and skin. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces (1 1/2-inches or so chunks) and return to the pot.

Sprinkle with black pepper and add more salt to taste.

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Showing 4 of 23 Comments / Reviews

  • ellen

    Thanks so much for this recipe. It was perfect for hunkering down in this snowy week in Santa Fe. I added okra which worked out really nicely.

  • Aimee

    This has been one of our family’s favorites ever since you first posted it a half dozen years ago. We love it, and it is a winter standby in our home.

  • Northcoast cook

    To adapt this recipe to a crockpot, brown the turkey, then the onions and celery as directed. Place them in the crock pot set to High, add the other vegetables, herbs and just 1/2 of the stock. Cook on high for 2 hours, then switch to the low setting for another 6 hours. Or, start with the low setting and cook for 8 hours. Because crockpot cooking creates more liquid than stove/oven cooking, you always use about half the liquid than is called for in a conventional recipe. The newer crockpots have timers and can switch cooking settings from high to low and even to a “hold” feature for this type of cooking.
    Bon appetit!

  • RD

    Made this for the family a
    few weeks ago. It was very good. Served
    it with a salad, homemade apple-cranberry
    muffins, and a good Merlot. Great dish for
    a chilly evening.

  • Jenine

    I made this stew and was astounded by the succulence. The root veggies come out balanced between sweet/savory and it made the house smell great too. Only negative: some of the turkey thigh meat was so tough and stringy as to be inedible. But I don’t care! It’s delish. Maybe I’ll try the crockpot technique described above. Thanks to Elise’s Dad, Elise and Northcoast cook!

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