Cilantro-Lime Leftover Turkey Stew

"This recipe makes a tangy flavor-filled meaty soup that is a great way to use what is left of the Thanksgiving Bird after the family carnivores are finished with it. I have been developing this recipe since late 2001 when I lost my job right after the 9/11 disaster and had too much time on my hands. This stew has now become a family favorite. Very low fat and nutritious, it makes for a complete meal. It is not suited as a side dish to a main course."
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Ready In:
49hrs 30mins
6 quarts of stew




  • This recipe takes two days to make, not continuous work mind you, but short periods of intense activity, separated by many hours of slothful relaxation. There are two main phases, the first is to make the meaty Turkey broth base, the second, to make the complete stew.
  • PHASE - I.
  • Secure a large crock pot or conventional pot of at least six quarts capacity. If you do not have one, procure one from a neighbor. A handgun may be helpful if they are not very cooperative (sorry - I forgot to add that to the ingredients list - my bad).
  • Take the Turkey carcass and violently rip it limb-from-limb until it fits into your pot. If you are timid, find another more "PC" recipe, you pretender!.
  • Fill the pot with ordinary water to cover the Turkey. I typically use five to six quarts. No fancy froo-froo water from places like France is needed. If you think you need it anyway, then get the hell out of Dodge and find another recipe!
  • Slice the carrot into less than 1/8" slices and put into the pot. Strain the garlic cloves finely and put in pot. Add 1 Tbsp of the dried Celery leaves. Put the pot on the stovetop on low heat for 3 to 4 hours, or until the meat simply falls off the bone. DO NOT boil, just use slow heat with a few bubbles rising. Boiling will kill the flavor. A large crockpot can also be used.
  • After truning off the heat, let the pot cool down for an hour, and then place it into the fridge overnight. I do this so the fat in the broth will rise to the top and harden, so it can be easily removed in the morning. Leaving the fat in this stew will inflate your waistline -- as if the beer you drink isn't doing enough!
  • PHASE - II.
  • The next morning, get the pot from the fridge and skim off the fat from the top with a large spoon. Then you will have to get your hands dirty. If you have recently changed the oil in your bike, you better scrub up but good. Clean hands are a must. Separate the meat from the bones by hand. I set up two large bowls, one for bones and gristle, the other for cleaned Turkey meat. Remove the meat and bones from the pot and separate into the two bowls until there is only broth left in the pot. Put the remnants of the skin, the carrot slices, and anything that looks funny to you in the bone bowl.
  • Toss what is in the bone bowl into the trash or out the window if you have no trash can. Next go through the meat bowl and cut up any large chunks of meat with a knife. I like to chop it in the direction of the muscle fibers so you leave long shreds of meat. That makes things interesting in the bowl when eating, unlike the factory-made stuff you get in cans. For six quarts of soup use about 1-1/2 quarts of shredded Turkey. If you have more meat than that, set it aside and use it for burrito filling. If you use more meat it becomes too thick.
  • Place the pot of broth on the stove and start to heat it slowly. Put the burner on medium heat to start, no hurry now. Toss in the turkey from the meat bowl, open the cans of sweet corn, drain them of water, and put the corn into the pot. Then open the can of tomatoes and put it all into the pot without draining.
  • Slice the onions and peppers into strips, less than 1/4 inch wide and at least 1-1/2 inches long. Do not finely chop, unless you want to make a bland uninteresting chowder. Brown the onions and peppers in a large pan in oil. Hey! Don't use a lot of oil, this is a low fat recipe. Turn the sliced veggies so they don't burn, yet get a bit brown on the edges. Then dump them into the pot.
  • Next add the rest of the dried Celery leaves, the Ancho Chili Powder, the Coriander, and Cayenne. Stir well.
  • Then wait for the pot to start bubbling. NOT BOILING -- just slowly bubbling. While you are waiting for this, squeeze the juice from the Limes into a bowl. Then thoroughly wash about 2/3 of the bunch of Cilantro and strip the leaves from the stems with a knife. The remaining 1/3 bunch will be used later as garnish when serving.
  • When the pot starts to bubble, turn the heat down to low and add 3/4 of the Lime Juice and the Cilantro leaves. DO NOT BOIL. If your pot is not full to six quarts capacity, now is the time to add more water. This recipe is for six quarts of stew. Now add salt to taste. I usually end up adding about 1+ level Tbsp, but you might like it different.
  • Cover the pot and let it very slowly bubble for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. If it bubbles vigorously, turn the heat down even more. Stir it up about every ten minutes or so so it all gets well mixed together. Then about 10 minutes before the end add the remaining Lime juice. This is the time to taste it to see if you need more salt, lime or other ingredients to taste. After you take the pot off the heat, let it sit about 30 minutes to let the flavors blend and develop more. With this stew, the longer you wait, the better it gets.
  • Serve it up in large bowls. I like to add a few tbsp of salsa verde and a large dollop of sour cream in the middle of each bowl. Don't stir it in, just plunk it into the bowl. This adds a bit of temperature and flavor contrast to the stew. Then garnish with the rest of the Cilantro.
  • And hey, there is not need to eat it right away! This stew is even better after you cool it in the fridge for a day and reheat. If you don't have hungry guests that need to eat right away, set it aside, and go for a ride instead. It will be even better the next day.

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  1. I haven't cooked this but have to give it 5 starts based on the directions alone. Thanks for the good laugh.
  2. My family LOVED this stew!! It was a great way to deal with the leftover turkey and was full of delicious flavor and aroma! I added celery and more carrots to the recipe because I had them around.


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