A return to hope cuisine this week and a dish born out of circumstances and scratching round in the cupboard/fridge/freezer for ingredients. A few weeks ago, we had just returned from a long weekend away and the only fresh food we had was a pack of turkey steaks, a solitary carrot, a lonely onion and some new potatoes.  I also had a jar of posh dried wild mushrooms given to me as a birthday present that I had been longing to try. A much better present than socks which tend to be rather chewy unless stewed for a very long time. Foraging around a bit, I managed to find a few more things to throw in, so it was fingers crossed and hope for the best. Not sure what this dish is called as you may have guessed from the title. Thought about “turkey cassoulet” after the traditional French dish with beans but, nah, this is not really a cassoulet. If you don’t have exactly the same ingredients, don’t worry – there are all sorts of variations you could try (see below).


  • 375g turkey steak, cut into chunks;
  • A good handful of dried, wild mushrooms, reconstituted as per their instructions (keep the water you soak them in!);
  • One medium red onion, chopped;
  • One or two garlic cloves, chopped or crushed;
  • 3 or 4 red wine ice cubes(!!! See Tips and Variations) or a good glug of red wine straight from the bottle;
  • Tin of borlotti beans;
  • Diced carrots, already steamed or boiled;
  • One or two teaspoons of cornflour.

In a large frying pan, gently fry the onion, mushrooms and garlic in a little olive oil until the onion is soft, then tip into a bowl to set aside. Whack the heat up a little bit and brown the turkey, adding a bit more oil if necessary. Once the turkey is browned, add back the onion and garlic then pour in the water from the mushrooms and the red wine/ice cubes. Simmer this lot gently for 10-15 minutes or until the turkey is cooked through which will depend on the size of your chunks.  Then add the beans and carrots and heat these through. You may need to add a little bit more water (or stock). I didn’t have the dish swimming in liquid but did add a bit of cornflour mixed with water to thicken it slightly. Add salt and pepper as you wish.

I served this with new potatoes with lots of butter and black pepper.


  • Wine ice cubes. If you ever have any wine left over that would otherwise be thrown away (this may be an alien concept to some), pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze. Then you can add a touch of sophistication to those midweek meals when opening a whole bottle may be a bit too extravagant.
  • If we had had white wine cubes in the freezer I might have used those instead of red.
  • I used borlotti beans but other beans such as cannellini or aduki would be fine. Or even a tin of lentils. Baked beans would be too weird(!).
  • Beans and lentils are great for making meat go further and making you feel that your meal is that little bit healthier (and cheaper)! If your kids have an issue with vegetables, try adding green lentils to mince – you can hardly tell that they are there (the lentils that is, not the kids).
  • If you don’t have dried mushrooms, use fresh or no mushrooms at all! Who cares?You won’t have the water from re-hydrating the dried mushrooms so use a bit of chicken or vegetable stock instead. Cubes are fine – no stock snobbery here, although I now prefer those jelly-like blobs rather than the dry crumbly cubes. Stock from blobs/cubes can be a bit over-powering so I often make it up a bit weaker than recommended on the packet depending on what I am making (subtle versus hearty).
  • Add the cornflour (mixed with a bit of water) a bit at a time until you have the consistency you want. Keep stirring as you go otherwise you get lumps!
  • Chicken or Quorn would be obvious alternatives to turkey. Maybe left over roast gammon?
  • If you add salt, it really should be flakes of sea salt. You won’t be able to taste the difference between this and normal table salt, but you will feel like a chef off the telly as you casually dip your fingers into a handily placed salt pig and sprinkle those flakes of saltiness over your dish. Hold your hand higher than it really needs to be for the full TV chef effect and don’t forget that little swirling motion (with your hand).
  • A bit of chopped, fresh parsley might have been a nice finishing touch but we didn’t have any.



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