Turkey Stew with Root Vegetables

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

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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

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  • 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.

Ingredients

  • 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.

Method

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

  • 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.

  • susan

    Hi Elise! I wanted to let you know that I made this for dinner last night for my family. It was delicious. I will be eating the left overs for lunch. I love your recipes. They are so friendly, one can use mostly pantry items, and they feed a crowd. I ended up omitting the mushrooms, and added some fennel instead. Also, mixed 2 tsp. of arrowroot with chicken stock in place of the yogurt. Served it with some brown rice and eveyrone was happy! :) I love your site… it is my “go to” for most of my cooking inspiration!xx

  • mantha

    Mmmm . . . you had me with the herbes de provence, just the perfect thing to brighten this dense, rootsy flavor. Must taste like spring waiting around the corner from winter. I would make this just as it is — the turkey thighs may be a little more fatty, but that is made up for by the flavor and the nutrients, especially iron, in the dark meat. A green salad on the side, rather than adding greener veggies to the stew itself, and a dry-ish red wine.

  • AustinCFoster

    It’s stewing away in my small slow cooker now with chicken thighs as the meat. It smells divine. Does anyone have advice on how to get rid of all the excess fat in thighs? …besides hand scraping it out piece by piece? That’s the only reason I rarely use them.

    Once the meat is done, you can remove the bones and skin. Any fat that has rendered out will float to the surface, which you can use a spoon to skim off. ~Elise

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