Turkey Stew with Root Vegetables

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

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


  • 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.


1 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.

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2 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.

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3 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.


4 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.

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5 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.

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  • Ariane

    Delicious. Thank you for the recipe.


  • Marty

    So every year after Thanksgiving I go to Whole Foods where they have turkey thighs for…( wait for it..) 99 cents a pound. I buy a whole bunch, freeze some for later and usually roast them. But today I had this idea to make a turkey stew.
    So I made your recipe and it is ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!! Followed the recipe and when it came time for the root veggies I used what I had..butternut squash, big fat sweet organic carrots in chunks —
    and at the end I threw in some nice fresh string beans
    I served it in a bowl with some yellow rice..and let me tell you..it was spectacular! Wow. Thank you so much.

    I did add just a wee bit of curry powder to the mix early on.. but you can’t tell..it just gave it a slightly exotic oomph in addition to the Herbes


  • 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.

  • elston

    I made this turkey stew yesterday…..on a cold wintry Maine day. It was fun to do and absolutely delicious. I made a few changes out of necessity. I didnt have the herbal mixture but I added a few parsnips to the pot which I think have a slightly floral taste and would replace the lavender….and I added some french canadian salted herbs that have savory and shallots and parsley and chives……other than that I think I stayed pretty much on book.

    The stew was delicious with some baking powder biscuits on the side. Today the left overs were fantastic too….I added a little soy sauce….and it added a wonderful depth of flavor.

    I love this site….it always inspires me.


  • 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


  • Susan

    I just made this for Thanksgiving for my son and I. We made it in the crockpot and it came out great! Thank you!!


  • baxter

    I am thankful this year for leftovers! I scored enough leftover turkey to make this for the third straight year. It is an absolutely terrific recipe that is well worth the time and effort. The only adjustments I make are foregoing the whole pieces of turkey and using meat that is already cooked and carved, no bones, no skin and chicken stock instead of vegetable. The provincial herbs is the make and break of this dish. I did not look hard enough to find it (herbs de province) the first time I made this, but I did for the second batch and it makes a world of difference.


  • Karen

    WOWOWOWOW! 5 star recipe. I chopped up a turkey breast tenderloin to keep calories down and threw in a thigh with skin for flavor, but doubt I would need that. Was going to try the crockpot but didn’t get up early enough. FANTASTIC recipe. Meat was tender. Flavors were savory and succulent. Just great!!! Will be a staple in winter.


  • Anna H.

    Aside from adding a parsnip, I followed the recipe to the letter and–yikes–the stew turned out practically Dickensian. Hunks of vegetable and stringy meat floating in a thin, greasy broth. (That was even after spooning off extra fat!) So I refrigerated it, skimmed as much of the solidified fat off the top as I could, put it back on the stove and thickened it with beurre manié. Much better now! Actually… quite good!

    Next time I make it I think I’ll try adding the vegetables at the same time as the turkey so the turkey doesn’t get too overdone. (Or maybe just cut the potatoes smaller–I had to prolong the cooking time to get them soft, after everything else was done.) And as a matter of personal taste, I’ll go lighter on the turnips and heavier on the potatoes and parsnips.

  • Luke

    Just finishing this up now…20 minutes to go!

    I couldn’t get the rutabaga (at 2 stores, weird)…so i went with parsnip instead (it’s a personal fave).

    I’ll let you know how that change works out but my whole house smells like food heaven right now.

  • Dom

    Dear Elise– This recipe sounds delightful. I wanted to point out an apparent omission: am I correct to assume that the turkey pieces should go back into the pot at step 3, before we put it in the oven? :-)

    How did I manage to edit a recipe to the point that a crucial and obvious step got omitted? D’oh. Yes. Return the turkey thighs to the pot, in Step 2. Correction made. Thank you! ~Elise

  • mdeancherry

    I’ve got everything for this recipe except for the rutabaga. I could go get one but I have radishes that I would like to throw in instead (just because I have them and like them). Would that be horrible? I’m not exactly sure what rutabaga would be like in this; I’m not sure if I’ve ever had it.

    If you like cooked radishes, sure, throw them in. As for rutabagas, they’re a lot like turnips but a little less bitter, and they’re yellow. ~Elise

    • Bob

      Rutabaga when cooked tastes a lot like the core of a broccoli stem, very similar texture as well. Holds together much better than say a red potato chunk in a stew. Radishes would be an interesting experiment for sure!

      • Elise Bauer

        Hi Bob, are you thinking of kohlrabi? I wouldn’t describe rutabaga as tasting like broccoli stem, it really is a yellow turnip. But kohlrabi, well the comparison to broccoli stem is the best one I’ve come across. Tastes almost exactly like it.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Lynn

    I came across your site a about a month ago & look forward to your recipes :-) Can’t wait to try more! I’ve made this one several times…it’s perfect, just the way it is. So flavorful & hearty – my 15 year old niece and 77 year old mother loved it too.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Martha

    Dear Elise
    This past Sunday we roasted a turkey and because it took a little longer than we expected – cook time and the preparation for the yummy stuffing, I didn’t have time to totally de-bone the carcass and want to make turkey soup with it – is it still good? All the turkey and leftovers were put away while still warm so we used proper food handling. Also I saved the pan drippings to try and make gravy the next day – but is that still good too? It is in a glass cover mug covered with plastic wrap. I appreciate any help you can give me. My husband wants me to de-bone the turkey the rest of the way today, but I would rather make soup with it if it is still good (okay to use). Please advise.

    Should be fine. We’ll eat from the carcass for days, keeping it in the refrigerator of course. Check out my mother’s turkey soup recipe for more info on how to go about it. ~Elise

  • Monica

    Great recipe! I used Yams instead of yellow potatoes. I also added broccoli and cauliflower and use turkey breasts just to make it healthier. Its the best stew recipe I have ever tasted. The yams make it a little sweeter!

  • dk

    Great recipe! I loosely followed it for leftover turkey and it was wonderful. Since I had cooked turkey already, I just browned the onions and cooked on the stovetop. I only had carrots, onion, and potatoes and it still tasted great. I also substituted the vegetable broth for chicken broth. One problem I had was the broth evaporating during the cooking process (both when I cooked on the stovetop and in the oven…yes, I’ve made this twice already!). I had to actually use 2 quarts of broth. Am I doing something wrong? Did anyone have the same problem? Thanks for all your wonderful recipes Elise. Whenever I think about cooking something I usually go to your website first :)

    Hi dk, the pot should be covered during most of the cooking process. If you are finding that the broth is evaporating, perhaps your pot’s cover is not tight fitting enough? ~Elise

  • Carrie

    I made this stew in my crockpot yesterday, browning the turkey legs, celery, and onion before adding them to the crockpot with the rest of the ingredients (using about 2/3 of the liquid called for). I cooked all on low for between 8-9 hours. The smell alone is to die for, and the stew came out perfect. Incredibly flavorful. I foresee this recipe becoming a family classic.

  • Mohammad

    Can I substitute the dutch oven with some other utensil?

    Looks really delicious btw XD

    You need an oven-proof pan with a lid. You also need a pan that you can put on the stove-top on relatively high heat for the browning of the ingredients. With a Dutch oven you can do both. But if you don’t have a Dutch oven, you need two separate pans. ~Elise

  • Elizabeth

    I made this stew tonight with a few modifications (basically just switched up the veggies a little) and it was fabulous! Thanks for a great recipe. Definitely a keeper.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!