Clouds, and even rain, spread over the city in a quiet motion last weekend. I was at home writing and up against a couple big deadlines. I couldn’t help but ease into the feeling of melancholy the weather brought on. We need the rain, so it was a relief, but it was also a shift in my atmosphere.
It was dark and I found myself a little sad. The subtle kind of sad that isn’t detrimental, but just is. A weird mixture of enjoying the dark and the moodiness, feeling a tinge of anxiety, wanting to go somewhere but knowing I should stay home and write, missing my mom. Missing my mom a lot. I was craving comfort.
I decided to utilize my somber state to inspire me for dinner. If comfort comes in food form, it’s turkey; specifically cooked slowly with traditional fresh herbs in a hunter’s stew.
I didn’t listen to my usual talk radio while I prepared dinner. I needed nourishment, not information, I was going to put music on, when I came across a record I forgot I had with the sounds of rain and thunder.
The clouds outside, the ever-strengthening smell of turkey stew as it simmered, and the supplemental rumble of thunder and gentle rain nursed me as I folded towels and put away dishes. The house was filled with peace. And there’s nothing more healing than peace.
Hunter’s Stew, or Cacciatore in its original Italian, is a traditional dish of braised poultry. It’s usually chicken, but I chose Turkey for its higher doses of L -tryptophan, which eases depression, anxiety, PMS, among other mood suppressing conditions.
Tryptophan helps regulate the production of serotonin, which is essential in mood balancing and creating a feeling of well being. 80-90% of our serotonin levels are found in the intestines! Yet another statistic that proves just how greatly what we consume affects us.
Also, I particularly enjoy the flavor of turkey. It’s special. Of course if you only have chicken lying around it’ll do just fine and still does contain these mood-boosting attributes.
The fresh herbs are another part of what makes this dish so deeply savory and healing. Slowly cooked in broth, they infuse it to a height of flavor which is absolutely incredible.
Some Hunter’s Stew recipes call for tomatoes and mushrooms too. Being on the candida diet I can’t do the mushrooms and I decided to skip tomatoes because I wanted a more alkalizing, savory meal than a zesty acidic one.
The meat is moist and tender from the slow cooking. Adding some spinach to the pan a few minutes before serving rounds out the dish with alkaline nutrients, along with the bone broth.
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 2 Turkey drumsticks (hormone free)
- 1 Cup bone broth
- 1 Yellow onion sliced
- 1 shallot sliced
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- ½ tsp fresh sage, chopped
- 1 Bay leaf
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Heat a large pan over medium high heat
- Add drumsticks to pan.
- Sear for 5-7 minutes on each side.
- Set seared drumsticks aside on a plate.
- Add onions and shallots to pan and cook until soft. About 5 minutes
- Add broth, garlic, herbs and bring to a boil.
- Add Turkey legs back into pan with stew
- Reduce heat to medium low.
- Cook for 30-45 minutes of until internal temp reads 165 degrees. Check after 30. (Be sure not to be touching the bone with the thermometer. It should be right in the meaty part.)