Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Recipe: Turkey Dumpling Stew

Let me preface this recipe and tell you that if you are going to make this...Buckle Up! You will fall out of your chair, it's so good! This could possibly be the best thing I've ever made - and I've made a lot of good stuff, I tell you what.

It all started when Hubby & I decided to make a turkey for our Christmas Eve dinner. We have his family over on Christmas Eve and do our thang (yes. I said thang... you got a problem? Take it up with my dirty dishes.). It's fun, relaxing day, full of tasty morsels and good company. I have never made a turkey on my own, so I wanted to give it a whirl. I'm brave. Hubby claims he did a turkey & a prime rib 3 years ago when we had both of our families over for the holidays...but I was high on Percoset, thanks to the ACL replacement surgery I had a day or two before Christmas. I might as well have been drunk because I don't remember much of that Christmas other than pain and pain meds.


I wanted to make a turkey. My dad makes killer turkeys, so we took a few tips from his book of secrets (like letting the turkey sit in a brine for at least 24 hours) and pulled off the juiciest, tastiest, gobbliest turkey ever. And then I kept the carcass (insert Lani's barf face here - she doesn't like to touch raw meat, and especially meat on the bone. I know...she's weird.) because I wanted to make my own turkey stock out of it. How Martha of me! It's another thing my dad started doing that I think is really cool. Plus, I figured I could save some money, since I wouldn't have to buy chicken stock for a month or two thanks to the homemade turkey stock I could stockpile in the freezer and use instead. That's what Hubby would call a double-banger!

Turkey Dumpling Stew - Thanks to Food Network Mag


  • 1 leftover roasted turkey carcass, plus 3 to 4 cups shredded turkey meat
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 stalks celery, quartered crosswise (save the leaves for the dumplings)
  • 1 pound carrots (3 quartered crosswise; the rest thinly sliced)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • Dumpling dough - ingredients listed below
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Chopped fresh chives, for topping


Make the stock: Pull the turkey carcass apart into smaller pieces; set the meat aside. Put the bones in a large, deep pot and add cold water to cover, 4 to 5 quarts. Add the onion, celery, the 3 quartered carrots and the bay leaf. Tie the parsley and thyme together with twine and add to the pot, then cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium low and cook 3 to 4 hours. Remove the bones and vegetables with a skimmer and discard, then strain the stock though a fine-mesh strainer. Return the stock to the pot and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced by half, 30 to 40 minutes (you'll have about 8 cups stock).

My stock is ... stocking...? It smelled SO good in our house! I had to literally split the carcass in half because I don't have a stock pot big enough to fit a whole turkey. Cracking bones was not my favorite, but I got through it by getting in touch with my inner Tony Montana.

After I strained the stock, it all went back into one pot to reduce down. It didn't reduce by half, like the recipe suggests. But it tasted done, so it was done after the 35 minutes I let it simmer down. Simmer Down Now!

My stockpile of stock that now lives in the freezer.

About 45 minutes before serving, prepare the dumplings:

Ingredients for the Dumplings

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 cup minced mixed fresh herbs and celery leaves
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups cold buttermilk

Directions for the Dumplings

Whisk the flour, herb mixture, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until sandy. Stir in the buttermilk.
Turn out onto a floured piece of parchment paper. Pat into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle.
Cut the dough into rough 2-inch squares with a large knife. Cover with plastic wrap.

Here's Hubby helping me prep the dumplings. I know the celery/herb addition to the mixture sounds weird, but it really did add a lot of extra flavor. I also ended up making them smaller than the 2" squares they suggested. I pulled them in half when I added them to the stew to make them more bite-size because I'm dainty like that.
Keep the dumplings covered with plastic wrap while you make the stew.

Make the stew: Melt the butter in a large, wide pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Gradually add the stock, stirring, and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sliced carrots and parsnips, cover and cook 5 minutes.
These are parsnips. Who knew?! Not me! I've never tasted, bought, or cooked one...that I know of. So when picking them up at the grocery store, I had to find the produce employee and ask "Where are the parsnips? I didn't see them". When he basically pointed to these that were right in front of my face, I pulled the "Oh! Duh! I must have walked right by them like 5 times! Just one of those days...". So now I know AND you know... And knowing is half the battle.

Stir in the turkey meat, lemon juice and green beans. Add the dumplings in a single layer (leave as squares or pat into rounds). Cover and simmer until the dumplings are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Ladle into bowls; top with chives.

My dumplings simmering away!
Voila! Will gobbled (pun intended) this stew up every time we had it - because there were LOTS of leftovers. And as I'm typing this, he's over my shoulder going "mmm! mmmm mama!". Yes, I know. It was very mmmm!

Next time whole chickens are on sale, I'm going to pick one up, and use the carcass to make my own chicken stock and then some chicken & dumplings. Yummmmm!

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