Turkey Stew
Image © Cynthia Nelson

“There’s more than one way to enjoy this bird. This method will rock your world upside down (in a great way), with fall-off the bone, tender, succulent meat, in a fragrant sauce that family and friends will enjoy sopping up.” – Cynthia Nelson, Tastes Like Home

Braised-Stewed Turkey
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Caribbean
Author: Cynthia Nelson
  • 1 10-lb turkey, cut into large pieces, washed and patted dry
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. oil plus extra
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • Minced hot pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 8 whole allspice berries
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 3-inch whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 bundle fresh thyme tied together
  • 1 fresh West Indian bay leaf
  • Hot water
  • ½ cup sliced green onions/scallions or parsley optional
  1. Season turkey with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Add oil to a large pot and place on high heat. When oil is hot (not smoking), working in batches, brown turkey meat on both sides. Meat will not be fully cooked at this stage; the purpose here is to give it some colour. Set aside when all the meat is browned.
  3. Add 2 Tbsp. oil to pot, if there is less than that amount remaining after browning the turkey.
  4. Add carrots, onions and hot pepper to the pot and let sauté. Season with salt and pepper and let cook and sweat until onions are translucent and softened.
  5. Move onions and carrots to one side and add the tomato paste. Using the back of your cooking spoon/spatula spread tomato paste so that it can toast and darken. This will take about 2 to 3 minutes. When the paste reaches this stage, mix in onions and carrots and let cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add all the turkey meat except the breast pieces to the pot and toss to mix. Cover the remaining chicken breast pieces with foil and set aside. Any drippings from the turkey resting should be added to the pot as well.
  7. Add the whole spices and let cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until all liquid has evaporated.
  8. Toss in the bundle of thyme and bay leaf and add enough water to come up about 1 inch shy of covering the meat. Use your spoon or spatula to gently scrap the bottom of the pot to loosen any bits stuck there. Cover pot, bring to a boil, then reduce to low and let cook for 90 minutes. At this time, add the breast meat to the pot, nestling it in. Re-cover the pot and let cook for another ½ hour or until the meat is cooked through and tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  9. If the gravy is too thin for you, raise heat to high, remove lid and cook down to your desired consistency.
  10. Stir in the sliced green onions or parsley, if using. Remove the thyme bundle before serving.
Cook's Notes

- You should get about 28 pieces of meat when the turkey is cut up. - You can choose to season your meat with green seasoning or a dry all-purpose seasoning, but this is not necessary as most of the flavour comes from the spices and herbs. - Vegetable or chicken stock can be used in place of water. - Potatoes and dumplings can be added to the stew.


This recipe was published in the December 2015 edition of Cooking Sense magazine.
Cynthia Nelson

Journalist, Cookbook Author, Lecturer, Photographer. I write about food and life in the Caribbean. My interest is in food and how it shapes our identity.

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