So, we’re still working through the ginormous amount of turkey we were given.  I suppose it wouldn’t have been so bad if we were a family (more mouths to feed, etc) but it’s just the two of us and we’re on diets, so it’s been slow going on the “oh my god we have to eat this all” front.

I made turkey soup last week, and that was really good.  I made a creamy turkey stew a few days ago, and that was also awesome.  The methods were almost identical, so here’s what needs to happen:

The goods:

A couple handfuls of baby carrots, diced

A few stalks of celery, diced

1/2 to 1 large yellow onion, diced

Some amount of cooked turkey, diced

Olive oil

Flour (only if you’re making the creamy stew.)

Chicken broth

Dried parsley, oregano, thyme, and sage

Salt and pepper

Heavy cream (only for the stew.)

** You’ll note that there are no measurements here.  That’s because you can make as much or as little as you want.  A good general rule of thumb is 2 parts onion, 1 part celery, 1 part carrot.  That’s a classic mirepoix, and it serves you well for any soup or sauce needs.

The method:

Heat up some oil in your desired cooking pot on medium-ish.  Throw in your veggies and cook until soft. (Try to avoid actually browning them.)

> If you’re making stew, now would be the time to stir in several spoonfuls of flour, enough to kind lightly coat the veggies.  Sprinkle it over your veggies and stir it around… It will kind of create a paste.  This is a good thing.  Cook that for a few minutes, until it stops smelling like raw flour and starts smelling kind of nutty.  If it looks too dry, add some more oil.

Add your turkey and cook for about a minute.

Slowly pour in your broth, until you have the desired liquid to solid ratio in your soup.

> Stew makers:  You will end up needing a lot more broth than you’d think.  All that flour is going to make a heck of a lot of gravy.  Just keep stirring so nothing gets lumpy.  Also, this will continue to thicken as it cooks and even as it cools, so add a splash or two more broth than you think you’ll need.  You can also always add more later if it gets too thick.

Bring the whole lovely mess to a boil.  Now taste it.  Add your seasonings until you decide it’s awesome.

> For stew: Once you’ve got the consistency about where you want it (I like mine almost as thick as chowder, most people like theirs a bit thinner) stir in a drizzle of heavy cream.  You won’t need a ton, but it adds a wonderful richness and velvety mouthfeel.

Easy and awesome.  We had the soup straight up with some saltine crackers for a delightfully simple dinner.  The stew we had served over basmati rice, which was also stellar.  (And a little hot sauce certainly didn’t hurt.)  I love soups and stews because they’re pretty hard to mess up, and endlessly customizable.  And with soups and stews, the leftovers just keep tasting better!

Final note:  If you’re like me and you always end up accidentally making way too much food, here’s a fun way to re-purpose the stew.

I combined the stew with the leftover rice until it was kind of like a casserole in texture.  (Actually, I left it like that overnight so it had over-thickened and I had to add some chicken stock until it loosened up to the point where I could stir it)

Then I lined a pie pan with a premade pie dough (any brand works), put the stew-and-rice mixture in, sprinkled on some salt, and topped it with some premade puff pastry (I happened to have one of each in my freezer.)  I also sprayed the top of the puff pastry (after crimping the edges shut) with nonstick spray and cut several steam vents in the top. Instant turkey pot pie!  Well, okay, you do have to bake it off first.  If memory serves, I put it in the oven at 400 degrees for somewhere between a half hour and 45 minutes.  Puff pastry is good at telling you when it’s done; once it’s beautiful and golden brown, it’s good to go.

The pot pie monstrosity was a huge hit, and I may have accidentally cause Darren to seriously overeat two days in a row (Whoo, leftovers!)

But it just goes to show – with a little creativity borne of boredom, you can do a lot better than just endless turkey sandwiches.