Why is it my best meals never photo well? *frustrating*
I tried to make this meal three separate times previously and something always happened to foil my plans (husband cooked it on high for 9 hours, slow cooker broke, etc.).
Well I finally made it, and it was glorious! Everything just combined in the cooker to make magic and I thoroughly enjoyed every bite.
Let’s backtrack a minute to explain why I even kept trying.
I try to keep our diet varied so every week I cook a fish meal, vegetarian meal, chicken/turkey, and pork/beef/other. I also rotate between weeks so if one week I cook chicken the next I cook turkey (yes I can be a bit ocd like that). I’m not going to even get into detail about how each week also needs a slow cooker meal and a quick meal.
As a bonus, turkey tends to be cheaper than chicken and I love the fact that I can get smoked parts, like a smoked turkey drum, thigh or tail for that little extra something in a dish. Side note – I wonder why you can’t get smoked chicken parts?
Anyway, I decided to do a sort of turkey drum pot roast only I wanted to give it an Italian twist specifically because I had parmesan rinds sitting in my fridge that I’ve been dying to use. Plus I needed it to be cooked in my slow cooker. I will warn you though – be aware of how big your cooker is in relation to how long the drumstick you buy. If necessary switch to smoked turkey thighs if you’re worried about the fit.
For this meal, the guy at my market was super nice and offered to cut it in half for me which was perfect (and yay for awesome service).
The Parmesan rind is pretty vital to this recipe so I wouldn't recommend skipping it. Luckily rind is usually available relatively cheap - my local grocery (Kroger) has it and you could always check at deli's that sell cheese.
- 1 ¼ lb smoked turkey drum
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 large bell pepper, diced
- 8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
- 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes (with juice)
- 3 oz tomato paste (preferably Italian style but regular is fine)
- 1 celery stalk, sliced
- 1/3 cup carrot, sliced
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp chipotle chili powder (can sub crushed red pepper)
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 – 3 chunks of parmesan rind
- Layer onion, bell pepper then mushrooms on the bottom of the cooker. Lay the turkey drum on top.
- In a food processor combine celery, carrot and garlic. Process until finely minced.
- In a bowl combine tomatoes, tomato paste, minced celery mixture, balsamic vinegar and seasonings. Stir until well combined then pour over turkey drum.
- Nestle parmesan rinds and bay leaf into tomato mix in cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 – 9 hours.
- When done, remove lid from slow cooker. Remove and discard parmesan rinds and bay leaf. Use a spoon to lift out the turkey (it will want to fall apart) to a separate bowl. Blend/process the mix in the cooker (I used a stick blender but you could do batches in a regular blender or food processor). After it’s blended, this is your chance to thicken it if you want. If you do want to thicken it, remove some liquid from the cooker, mix with 1 Tbsp of cornstarch then stir back into the cooker and allow to cook on high and uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Taste and adjust any seasonings to the “gravy”
- Pick out and discard any bones or hard bits from the turkey. Use a fork to make large chunks with the remaining meat. Serve with lots of “gravy” from cooker on top.
Delicious! I know it doesn’t look like it from the photos but the turkey was fall apart tender and the vegetables all mixed to make such a tasty gravy/sauce.
I kept the Italian theme going by serving it over a bit of whole wheat pasta. It’s also more than enough per serving to not need anything else but if you really wanted you could serve a small side salad or splurge and have some garlic bread.
Either way – don’t be turned off by the bad photos and make sure give this meal a shot; I promise you won’t regret it.