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.
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.
Turkey Stew With Root Vegetables
Save time by prepping the root vegetables during the first stage of the stew's oven cooking.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 pounds 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.
Brown the turkey thighs:
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.
Cook the onions and celery:
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.
Add turkey thighs, salt, half of the stock:
Return the turkey thighs to the pot. 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.
Add rest of vegetables and remaining stock:
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.
Strip meat from turkey thighs, return to stew:
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.