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Yucatán Turkey Thigh and Yucca Stew 

Jan 04

While bone broth is indeed a tasty and healing ingredient, here’s a shortcut. Cook meat on the bone, as below, and in one pot you’ll create both the stock and the stew. From The Whole Bowl: Gluten-free, Dairy-free Soups and Stewsby Rebecca Wood and Leda Scheintaub. Countryman Press, 2015.

Pre-conquest ingredients were gluten and dairy free, turkey was the bird in the pot, and yucca was a staple starchy ingredient in Central America. That makes upstarts of the onion, garlic, chicken, pasta, dairy, carrots, celery, and olive oil that appear in many contemporary Yucatan chicken soups. If you can’t imagine this soup without garlic or onions, scratch history and include them—but our version is the real deal and quite wonderful.yucca soup

While yucca root is mild flavored, its silky smooth starch adds an ambiance to other soup ingredients that rivals the mighty potato. When purchasing yucca, pick one that is firm, well formed, and blemish-free with a clean, fresh scent. Store whole yucca in a cool, dark, dry place for up to a week. Or peel, cover with water, and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

This soup is perfect for those times when there’s no stock on hand but you’re looking for the inimitable heft a good bone stock gives a dish. If your market doesn’t offer turkey thighs, use chicken. While Mexican oregano is similarly flavored to Mediterranean oregano, they’re unrelated, with the Mexican variety featuring both citrus and licorice notes.

Turkey thigh soup is decidedly home-style, with bits of cartilage inevitably ending up in the soup. If company is coming, you may bypass the potential gristle issue by substituting turkey breast for the thigh and using bone stock instead of water. While this soup is great au blanc, you may first brown the thigh.

While yucca is exquisite in this soup,  you may substitute a yam or potato for the yucca.

Serves 4

1 bone-in, skin-on pastured turkey thigh (or substitute 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs)
2 yucca roots (about 2 cups cubed)
2 tomatoes (about 1 pound), peeled, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 poblano chile, roasted and chopped
2 serrano chiles, roasted and chopped
1 ½ teaspoons unrefined salt, or to taste
4 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, preferably Mexican oregano (see Sidebar below), or 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and roughly chopped

Place the turkey thigh in a large saucepan. Add water to cover, cover the pot, and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, skimming off and discarding any foam that forms at the top.

Meanwhile, peel the yucca, cut it into 2-inch lengths, then cut the lengths in half vertically. Remove the small central fibrous core, slice the pieces lengthwise, and chop. Add the yucca, tomatoes, chiles, and salt to the pan. Return to a simmer, then cover and simmer for about 2 hours, until the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender and the yucca has partially dissolved, leaving behind meltingly soft nubbins with a pleasing slightly gummy texture.

Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the thigh and place it on plate. Once it is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bone (reserve both for bone stock) and cut or tear the meat into bite-size pieces. Return the turkey to the soup, add the oregano, and reheat if needed. Add the lime juice. Taste; if it’s too sour, add more salt. Spoon into bowls, garnish with avocado, and serve.

Sidebar: Mexican Oregano: An Invaluable Herb for South of the Border Soups and Stews

Mexican oregano (Lippia graveolens), also known as Puerto Rican oregano, is a member of lemon verbena family and grows as a shrub or small tree throughout Central and South America. Its taste is similar to a vibrant savory with citrusy and licorice-like flavors, and it is widely valued for its culinary and medicinal uses; the latter includes antiviral and antimicrobial properties. The more common Mediterranean oregano (Origanum vulgare) is a member of the mint family.

Fresh Mexican oregano has some availability in regional markets and it is easily cultivated from seed or cuttings. Dried Mexican oregano is readily available in Western, Southwestern, Mexican, and international markets as well as online.

Smoky Parsnip and Sweet Potato Soup

Nov 28

Thrilled to be guesting with Be Nourished this month and to whet your appetite for our upcoming cookbook, The Whole Bowl: 50 Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Soups and Stews, with this highly flavored, warming soup. The soup gets its smoke from chipotle and a back note of allspice adds rounded depth. Earthy parsnips take well to warming spices (I’ve used them in place of pumpkin in pie with success), as do sweet potatoes. Hearty red miso finishes the dish with a hint of salty, umami flavor (those who are avoiding soy can substitute chickpea miso for the red miso).IMG_2880

This easy-to-make soup demonstrates how simple it is to build a great gluten-free and dairy-free creamy soup sans cream: Start with a nourishing broth, season well, and add a delicious thickener, in this case parsnips and sweet potatoes, in place of the cream. See below for a few more tips from The Whole Bowl to get you started.

The Whole Bowl is also Rebecca’s long-awaited new cookbook, the first since she won both a Julia Child Award and a James Beard Award for her Splendid Grain. As many Be Nourished Readers know, Rebecca was one of the earliest Westerners to write about the healing properties of food (and the first writer in the U.S. to “discover” quinoa!), and she’s been speaking the gluten- and dairy-free language for decades. I have learned so much from Rebecca over the years, and am grateful for our collaboration on The Whole Bowl. The book will launch in January 2015 and is available for preorder now.

Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ to ½ teaspoon ground chipotle chile, to spice enjoyment level
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 large sweet potato (about 12 ounces), peeled and chopped
2 medium parsnips (about 12 ounces), chopped
6 cups bone broth or vegetable broth
Unrefined salt
1 ½ tablespoons red miso
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Garam masala

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until very soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the chipotle, allspice, turmeric, paprika, and nutmeg and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the sweet potato, parsnips, and stock and season lightly with salt (remembering the miso will add saltiness). Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Ladle out about ½ cup of the broth into a bowl and whisk in the miso. Turn off the heat and stir the mixture into the soup (do not reheat to ensure that the living cultures in the miso stay live).

Transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan, stir in the lemon juice, and adjust the seasonings.

Spoon into bowls and serve, with a pinch of garam masala sprinkled onto each serving.

A few more tips on thickening your gluten- and dairy-free soups from The Whole Bowl:

  • Cook a little rice into the soup and blend it in
  • Mash or blend part of the soup
  • Blend in an avocado
  • Add coconut milk
  • Swap chickpea flour or rice flour for wheat flour

Leda Scheintaub trained as a chef at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York and has been a recipe developer and tester, editor, and writer for the past twelve years. She is the author of Cultured Foods for Your Kitchen: 100 Recipes Featuring the Bold Flavors of Fermentation. Her next book, with Rebecca Wood, is The Whole Bowl: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Soups and Stews. Visit her at www.ledaskitchen.com and on Facebook and Twitter.