Turkey and Dumplings
Being from the south, I grew up eating chicken and dumplings. It's a meal I would consider comfort food and delicious. While this recipe is a little different than my mom's traditional chicken and dumplings (it has veggies and I'm not making the biscuits from scratch anymore...ain't nobody got time for that) it is close to being equally as delicious.
I also want to state the obvious, this is not made with chicken but instead with wild turkey legs I hunted and harvested myself. Yes, spoiler alert if you didn't already know, I am a hunter and proud of it. I love knowing where my meat comes from and that hunters are the highest contributors to conservation. I grew up around hunting but didn't start hunting myself until after college. Turkeys were the first game I started hunting. It was the sound of a distant gobbler and the challenge of turkey hunting that got me hooked, pun intended.
I remember the first couple of birds we cleaned...we would only save the breast meat. I always thought that was so weird. I would argue saying I wanted to save the entire bird and roast it like you would your typical Thanksgiving turkey. I didn't understand why a wild turkey was any different from a store bought turkey...again, spoiler alert...they are different because your store bought turkey lives a caged life and is pumped full of hormones and GMOs. But like many hunters, I followed the path of those I learned from and did what they did. I had always heard "there's no need to save the legs," "there's not enough meat there to save them," "it's not worth your time..." After feeling wasteful for too long I said screw that, I'm saving the legs and I'm so glad I did.
Saving the legs doesn't take that much more time and there is plenty of meat on them. I skin them just like I do the breast. You can even use the foot as a brace / support on your chest to counter you pulling the skin off. (see image above) And like most wild game (well really ANY food), it's all about how you prepare and cook it. You can have the best cut of meat but if you over cook it, it won't be good. Same goes with turkey legs. Turkey is very easy to over cook and become dry. This recipe allows you to keep the bone-in the legs so the prep and cleaning of the meat is easy. Just cut the actual leg off the drumstick at the joint after you've skinned it, easy peasy. For this recipe you cook them in a crockpot so the meat will fall off, making it utterly impossible to overcook them and eliminating the possibility of your meat being too dry. Moral of this story....I'll never let another turkey leg go to waste.
Couple of tips when making this turkey and dumplings recipe. I use a crockpot liner. It makes clean up that much easier. You can typically find them in your grocery store or Walmart somewhere by the tinfoil and ziplock bags. I love cooking but I hate cleaning, so anything I can do to make the cleanup faster and easier, I'm in. Just be aware, if your bones are sharp they can puncture the liner so be careful when you place them into your crockpot. Also, you don't ever want to put your meat directly on the bottom of the crockpot. That can actually cause it to be overcooked or tough and it won't be as good. The original recipe I found on Pinterest was written by Spend with Pennies, and she said to dice the onion. I don't do that. I slice my onion and layer the bottom of the crockpot with the slices. Then I place my turkey on top of the onion slices so they act as a barrier between the meat and the crockpot. The onions cook down and you never even notice the difference between them being diced vs sliced.
Makes 4-6 servings.
Total Time: 5 hours 20 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 5 hours 10 min.
1 large onion , diced
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of celery soup
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of chicken soup
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 medium sized stem of fresh Rosemary (leaves only, don't add the actual stem)
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (I use Reload Rub -- because it's made by a hunter, no MSG, no sugar & gluten free )
black pepper to taste
2 turkey legs (bone-in) or 1 large turkey breast
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups frozen vegetables or peas and carrots , defrosted
1 can (8 pieces) refrigerated biscuits (Buttermilk, Country or Homestyle)
Add onion to crock pot and top with two turkey legs (or 1 large turkey breast)
In a separate bowl, combine cream of celery soup, cream of chicken soup, parsley, poultry seasoning, rosemary and pepper. Spread over turkey.
Top with 2 cups of chicken broth.
Cook on high for 4 hours. Or cook on low for 7 hours.
1 hour before serving, (after 4 hrs on high or 7 hrs on low) remove turkey legs and de-bone. Shred your turkey into the perfect bite size morsels.
You want to open your crockpot as little as possible so before adding the turkey back in you want to also prepare your biscuits & have your veggies ready (half way de-frosted).
Pull your veggies out of the freezer, measure 2 cups and leave them out on counter while you de-bone/shred your turkey & prepare your biscuits.
Roll all the biscuits together, thin and flat. Cut into equal strips. (between 4-6)
Add vegetables and turkey to the slow cooker and stir.
Add biscuit strips on top like you would for a pie. Replace lid as quickly as possible.
Let cook for an additional hour on high (between 60-90 minutes depending on your slow cooker)
Biscuits will rise and cook thoroughly. Once the biscuits are cooked, your Turkey & Dumplings are ready to serve.
Break up your biscuits with a large serving spoon and dish it up. Enjoy.
I hope y'all enjoy this recipe as much as we do. It's now a go-to, simple, easy and tasty meal in our home. Do you save your turkey legs? If you don't, start! And if you do, how do you like to cook them? Let me know below in the comments. I'm always looking for new recipes. Make sure to like this post and subscribe to keep the blogs coming.