Friday, November 25, 2011

Southwestern Turkey Stew

chicken stew

It’s the time of year when soups and stews take over from burgers and salads, and the day after Thanksgiving you need something good to do with those turkey leftovers.

The cold weather often means higher calorie intake and less outdoor activity. In fact, I read that on average, our bodies crave 200 more calories per day when temperature plummet. Old school protection against the hardships of winter, but hardly necessary for most of us. Never mind that many of us totally pigged out yesterday.

So it’s nice that this stew is pretty light. Plus, it can go in the slow cooker, which is nice after all that holiday kitchen frenzy. I adapted it from a recipe Marie Valenzuela of Westminster, Colorado (right down the road from me!) had published in the Good Morning America Cut the Calories Cookbook in 2000.

I leave out a few of her ingredients, adjust some others to our taste, eliminate anything labeled “lite” or “diet”, then throw the whole shebang into a slow cooker to simmer all day while I do other things (like write). It’s a good way to use leftovers from a roasted chicken, too (the original recipe was for chicken, actually, but I love it with turkey).

Southwestern Turkey Stew

Shred 4 cups or so of leftover cooked turkey. Place in slow cooker and add:

  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 1 large red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 3-4 roasted poblano or ancho chilies (chopped – or you can use a large can of chopped green chilies if you can’t find the others or don’t want the stew to be spicy)
  • 3 medium whole tomatoes (skins removed) OR one 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 cup corn (frozen or cut from the cob)
  • 1 cup either chicken stock OR prepared salsa
  • Salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin (or buy whole cumin seeds, toast them and grind in mortar & pestle or coffee grinder – yum!)
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes (leave out if you don’t like heat)
  • 1 handful of coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (or frozen – see how to freeze fresh cilantro here).

Give it all a good stir, set to low, and walk away for 6-8 hours. Or longer.

Don’t have a crock pot? Mix everything together in a big, oven-safe pot (like a Dutch oven) and put into the oven at 300 degrees for 5-7 hours.

Serve this stew with a dollop of crème fraiche, sour cream, or plain yogurt and more cilantro if you like.

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