Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I literally count my blessings as a form of stress relief, so that tracks…
One of the many things I am thankful for is spending Thanksgiving with Ben’s parents upstate. They have a 90 lb. golden doodle and I no one balks if I wear my PJs all day. On top of that, Ben’s mother, MaryBeth, is THE BEST COOK. Full stop. The best. If was forced to eat only one food for the rest of my life, it would be MaryBeth’s turkey gravy. I know, it is a bold choice. I stand behind it.
This is not a MaryBeth recipe, but this dish still has a very special place in my heart (and in my stomach). This is the dish I would make for myself and my friends who were not headed home for the holidays in the pre-Ben era. It has all the familiar Thanksgiving flavors, and it takes nearly as long to make as a regular Thanksgiving feast, but is small enough to fit in one dutch oven. After all, Thanksgiving is not about having a huge spread and leftovers, it is about being grateful for what you have. If you choose to make my Thanksgiving Casserole, you can also be thankful for not having a million dishes to wash.
NOTE: I am sure there are shortcuts for this casserole, but this is how I make it. After all, part of what makes Thanksgiving food special is the time and love you put into the meal.
2 large onions
12 celery stalks
1 lb. turkey thighs
1/2 cup fresh sage leafs
10 sprigs of thyme
2 10 oz. packages of frozen shiitake mushrooms
2 tbs flour
1 box stuffing (I used Trader Joe’s, but you can use Stovetop or even your Nanna’s amazing stuffing recipe)
Cut 1 onion into large chunks. Cut 6 carrots and 6 celery stalks into 1/2 inch slices.
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil. When oil is hot, sear turkey thighs, turning once to brown on both sides. Remove thighs and set aside. Add sage leafs to the oil and heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chopped onion, carrots, celery, and about a tsp of salt. Cook until onions turn translucent. Return turkey to the pot, then add enough water to the pot that the water covers the turkey, plus about two inches.
Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer. Simmer until the meat is falling away from the bones. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Strain the contents of the pot into a large heat-proof bowl, reserving the stock. Remove all turkey from the strainer and discard the other solids.
Pick turkey off of the bones, discarding bones and skin. Chop turkey into 1 inch pieces and set aside.
Tie sprigs of thyme together with butchers twine. Pour reserved stock into a clean stock pot with bouquet of thyme and heat until boiling. Turn down to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Remove thyme.
While liquid reduces, dice 1 onion, and cut 6 carrots and 6 celery stalks into 1/2 inch pieces.
In large skillet, heat 3 tbs of olive oil. Cook mushrooms until they are browned. Turn off heat and set aside.
In a 6 quart dutch oven, heat 3 tbs of olive oil. Add onions, carrots, and celery, and cook until onions turn translucent. Add mushrooms and flour, and cook for another 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add reduced stock and heat until boiling. Turn down to a simmer and cook until the liquid thickens.
Make your favorite stuffing. Top the turkey stew with stuffing and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.