dinner

smoked turkey stew with yellow eye beans

Every once in awhile the stars align with some cosmic juju and an unexpectedly delicious recipe just comes together. This is one of those recipes. I had decent expectations for this stew, but the end product really blew me away with a pretty kickin’ flavor. The smoked stock gives this recipe great depth of flavor, the beans are buttery and practically have a melt-in-your-mouth effect, and the turkey is tender and makes the stew so perfectly hearty and sleep-inducing.

The night I ended up making this was pretty funny. Remember our pals D and Laura from my last post? Well they invited us over for happy hour – and really – who turns down a happy hour? So we headed over and had some vino as they were prepping their dinner of a fantastic salad with feta and roasted pine nuts, roasted farmer’s market potatoes, and steak fillets.

As we tend to do, we chatted and listened to records until it was practically dinnertime and decided it was clearly best to partner up on dinner – have my stew as the first course, and follow it up with the lovely dinner they were making. Duh, right? So that’s what we did! Such a fun night and what a tasty meal for a Monday! 😀

Of course the next day I had a massive bowl of it since I am like, really, really into this recipe. Ha!

I also have to pull a very Ina-move here and plead with you that you try and get your hands on Rancho Gordo beans for this recipe. Laura converted me to this brand and I am a total fanatic.

Alrighty, let’s get to the recipe. I realize not everyone has access to a smoker to smoke turkey, so feel free to use regular turkey stock & meat from an oven-roasted turkey as I think it would still be really tasty. Just be sure to capture and hold onto some of the drippings to start the vegetables off for the stew.

And if roasting the turkey in the oven, my go-to is always to lather the bird with butter, and generously season with salt, pepper, sage and thyme. But any turkey recipe would do given I think we all have our favorites!

If you are smoking the bird, we suggest following Bobby Flay’s recipe, but using the flavors that you’d like (i.e. we used the butter and herbs I mentioned above as opposed to the honey and apple cider vinegar).

Any way you cook it, this is a great recipe for all those pesky Thanksgiving turkey leftovers!

Servings: 6
Stock Cook Time: 4 hours
Stew Cook Time: 2 hours

Ingredients for Stock
1 smoked turkey carcass (with two cups shredded breast meat set aside for the stew)
2 halved white onions
2 chopped celery stalks
2 chopped carrots
1 garlic clove halved at the equator
1 tbs peppercorns
5 sprigs fresh thyme
5 sprigs fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
2 tsp salt
16 cups water, or enough to cover carcass completely

Ingredients for Stew
5 tbs turkey drippings
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1/2 tsp thyme
1 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
14 cups smoked turkey stock
1 lb yellow eye beans (preferably Rancho Gordo brand)
2 cups shredded roasted turkey

To make the stock, you just throw all of the ingredients listed under stock into a large pot. You want to cover with enough water so that you have at least 16 cups, but feel free to add more if needed so that the entire carcass is submerged. Bring this to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and let cook for 4 hours. Skim and remove any fat or foam that forms on top of the surface throughout the simmer.

Once the stock is done, remove from the heat and strain into a large container until it’s needed to add to the stew.

To start the stew, add the turkey drippings to a large cast iron pot and heat to medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, herbs and salt + pepper. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are translucent and carrots and celery have started to become tender, about 12 minutes.

Add the stock slowly and be sure to scrape up the fond (the little yummy browned bits on the bottom of the pan) as you stir in the stock. Next add the beans and shredded turkey. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for an hour and a half or until the beans are tender.

Add salt to taste at the end.

Serve with some crusty bread and get ready to put on some stretchy pants and get snuggled up in bed afterwards!

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