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Slow Cooker Moroccan Turkey Stew


Rhonda from Dining Alone has a “Best Thing I Ever Made” feature where she highlights a favorite recipe each week from her archives. In October, she shared this stew as the best soup she’s ever made. All I had to do was take one look at her totally delicious picture (please, go look, and grab a napkin to catch the drool) to know I had to make it.

My sister’s best friend, Margo, married a Moroccan man (that’s them up there with the Twinkies during a Toot and Twinkies game night…but that’s another story for a different day) and she introduced me to their cuisine after she learned to cook it from her sister-in-law. Her Moroccan Chicken Couscous is so so delicious, and this stew has very similar ingredients so I was fairly certain I would love it.

Love it? No, I’m obsessed with it. If this soup were a person, it would have filed a restraining order on me because I stalked it for three nights in a row, made inappropriate noises while eating it, and almost cried when it was gone. I might have separation anxiety. Moroccan Turkey Stew, please don’t leave me! Come back!

So anyway, you should try this stew.  And please invite me over for dinner when you do.  I promise I’ll keep the inappropriate noises to a minimum.

Slow Cooker Moroccan Turkey Stew

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 teaspoon ground allspice
Kosher salt
4 skinless, bone-in turkey thighs (about 4 pounds)*
1/2 medium butternut squash, cut into 2-inch chunks
2 15.5-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes with juices, broken up
1 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup golden raisins
8 medium carrots, cut into 11/2-inch pieces
3 medium red onions, halved and cut into wedges
2 whole dried red chiles
1/2 lemon
2 cups fresh cilantro, including leaves and some stems
1 cup fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, smashed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

*You can also use bone-in chicken thighs, which is what I opted to use since I couldn’t find turkey legs.

Combine the allspice and 3 teaspoons salt in a small bowl. Season the turkey thighs with half the salt mixture in a 5-quart slow cooker.

Toss the squash, chickpeas, tomatoes, apricots, raisins, carrots, onions and chiles with the remaining spiced salt. Pour the vegetables over the turkey (the cooker will be full; arrange the mixture so the lid fits.  And don’t be like me and think you can fit extra veg in because you can’t–trust me.). Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.

Spoon the vegetables and broth into bowls. Remove and discard the turkey bones and place the meat on top of the vegetables.

Juice the lemon; pulse with the cilantro, parsley, garlic, cumin and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Add the oil and process until smooth. Serve the stew in bowls; drizzle with the cilantro sauce.

*Veronica’s note: your cilantro sauce will probably not be as green as mine (compare it with Rhonda’s picture) because I didn’t measure it and probably used twice as much as I was supposed to.  I didn’t care, it was still phenomenal.

Recipe source: Food Network, as seen on Dining Alone

***

Disclaimer: I know I said I wasn’t going to apologize for my bad photos, but I do want to explain that I took these with zero natural light–all I had was the light from the light bulb overhead in the bedroom because for some reason, that is the brightest room in our house.  So I think they’re pretty good, considering.  Except for the swampy green blobs.  That’s not cool, but hey, this is real life up in my kitchen and swampy green blobs happen.

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Emu Stew

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After I posted about the benefits of bison, my friend Erin recommended I try ostrich because, like bison, it is similar in taste to beef but much lower in fat.  So I was thrilled to find emu for sale at the farmer’s market last Saturday.  Not ostrich, but close enough!  Since I already have 3 lbs. of ground bison in the freezer, I opted for the stew meat, which was $6.50 for a pound. I also bought a nice leg bone for Jessie.  As you can see, they were also selling the egg shells and they also had the feathers & beauty products made from the rendered fat.  I loved that they weren’t wasting any part of the animal.

  

Since I bought stew meat, I decided to make STEW of all things.

After thawing it out in the fridge, I put the meat into my crockpot from 1980 (seriously, it’s probably older than that) and dumped in all the broth I’d stockpiled in the freezer for the last six months–there was beef, turkey and chicken.  I didn’t care–it all went in the same pot.  I don’t cook meat a lot and I don’t cook a lot of it at once, so I didn’t have a ton of broth–it all added up to maybe four cups.  I chopped up garlic, tarragon and sage from my Dad’s garden and added some fresh rosemary from the farmer’s market, set it on low and let it cook for 24 hours.  In a normal crockpot, it would have been done in probably 8 but this is a crazy retro crockpot that cooks on super low and takes forever.  Which is a good thing when it comes to low-fat meats like bison and emu–you want to cook them low and slow or they will get tough.

Today, after the meat had cooked 24 hours, I drained the broth off and put it in a stock pot.  I turned it on high and dumped in chopped potatoes, carrots, onion & half of my package of baby portabellos with a teaspoon of salt.  Oh, and some more fresh herbs–including oregano now that I have it, along with some dried thyme and basil.  I forgot I had fresh basil. :(

After that cooked for ten minutes (turning it down to medium once it started to boil), I added in chopped red, green & yellow peppers, the rest of the shrooms, and chopped asparagus.  After that cooked five minutes I stirred in some frozen peas, corn & green beans and a can of drained tomatoes.  After stirring in the meat, it was time to eat!

I realize most people would have put the veggies in the crockpot along with the meat, but I never do this.  I hate it when soup is all one color and looks dreary.  I like my vegetables to be colorful and still have some life in them so I never leave the crockpot in charge when it comes to vegetables.  With soups/stews, I usually put the slower cooking veggies in first, like potatoes and carrots, and quicker cooking veggies like peppers & tomatoes in at the end.  I do cook the onions longer b/c I don’t care if they’re mush–they’re just there for flavor b/c you can’t see them anyway and cooking them longer renders the most flavor.  And I divided the mushrooms b/c I wanted the flavor to really infuse the stew so I cooked half longer and half later so that they weren’t as “well done.”  I like to add frozen veggies at the end so that they’re cooked with the residual heat of the stew while they’re cooling it down to a more acceptable temperature.  The meat goes in last after the burner is off so that the amount of cooking time added to the meat is negligible.

I served the soup with the terrible dinner rolls I made last night.  They’re really dense (I added too much flour) so they were perfect for sopping up the broth.  It was the best stew I have ever had and I seriously couldn’t tell I wasn’t eating beef.  Neither could Dennis. Slow-cooking made it perfectly tender, and we loved all the flavor-packed vegetables and the herbalicious aroma.

With all the vegetables I added, this made enough stew for six big servings, which is really stretching that pound of meat and making it worth every cent!  Plus, preparing it the way I described, will give you a huge bowl for 271 calories!  Now that’s the kind of meal I SHOULD be eating on a regular basis.

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