Braising the hickory smoked turkey legs in chicken broth make for a rich broth used to cook butter beans. Smoked Turkey Legs with Butter beans in Tomato Pesto Broth has a smoky, tomato broth and large butter beans. It’s a rich meal that will warm you up on the coldest nights.
I received hickory smoked turkey drums from Frick’s Quality Meats to use in this post, but all opinions are mine.
I am so thankful for the cooler weather. Aren’t you? I can’t wait to cook up my arsenal of comforting dinners. Casseroles, pastas, and soups are right up my alley when the weather dips and I have to bust out my long pants and sweatshirts.
For me, the most comforting recipe, aside from lasagna, is bean soup. It’s a simple recipe with simple ingredients. It was a recipe we enjoyed often in the cooler months. Bean soup doesn’t take much time at all prepare and cook. You can dress it up or dress it down. Bean soup is good with crusty bread, cornbread, or crackers. It truly is a versatile dish.
For us, it was a ham hock left over from our Derby party. It would live in the freezer for months until the weather was cooler. Then we could simmer up some beans with that country ham hock. Of course, back in those days, smoked meats and ham hocks were only available certain times of the year.
Thankfully, today we can easily get delicious smoked meats at the grocery store or online. For us, we love the flavor of Frick’s Quality Meats. Their smoked meats have the best flavor for my family’s bean soup. That rich, smoked flavor is reminds me of Dad’s bean soup. He always ate his with raw onion. I never could quite figure that one out. I had mine with cornbread! Such comfort food.
However, this isn’t Dad’s bean soup. Instead of robust ham hock, I chose smoked turkey legs. They have a great smoked flavor and crispy skin. Frick’s smoked turkey legs make for the most amazing flavored broth to use in any kind of soup. But for this soup, I wanted to upscale our typical bean soup and make something absolutely delicious!
I took those two legs and put them in some chicken stock. Then, I added some celery flakes, bell pepper, half an onion, and several cloves of garlic to the pot. Finally, I let it simmer. For the longest time ever! Trust me, when you think you’re done, let it simmer at least another 30 minutes. The best way to tell you’ve simmered broth long enough is when it congeals when it cools. That means you’ve gotten all that good flavor (and collagen) out of the bones.
Mine simmered for at least 3 hours. I wanted the most concentrated and richest stock known to man. And that’s just what I made simmering those legs. It was a rich brown color and had the most intoxicating aroma you can only imagine. It took everything I had not to dip into the pot and have a bowl. But, I kept my composure knowing that I’d be rewarded with the most amazing broth for my beans.
I knew when it was finished, that no small navy bean was going to stand up to that rich of a broth. That’s when I reached for the butter beans! I knew those larger beans would absorb that delicious flavor and make for the most hearty and amazing bean “soup” you could imagine.
I say bean “soup” because there’s more broth than bean. It’s not thickened like a bean soup is. Bean soup sometimes is a bit of a mush, but this dish isn’t mush. It maintains all the individuality of all the moving parts but combine like an orchestra to make an amazing dinner for your family.
Bean soup sometimes turns to mush because, and I speak from my own experience in this, the beans are cooked. They’re not tended to or checked to make sure they don’t get overcooked. I’ve learned that beans are precious. You have to check them periodically to make sure you don’t overcook them. They’re fabulous when they’re not mush.
That’s one of the reasons I chose such a large bean. It bought me some time to make sure I didn’t overcook them. Butter beans, also known as large lima beans, have great flavor when you can taste the bean. That’s slight texture as you bite into the bean and then taste that amazing broth that’s infiltrated the very center of the bean makes for such a great meal.
You can see how large the beans are and how they stand up the broth and large pieces of turkey leg meat. There’s a few pieces of celery throughout and then that lovely broth. The broth is laced with sweet and flavorful tomato pesto. It adds just the right amount of tomato and basil flavor that’s perfect with the beans and right turkey meat.
Of course, I added the spoon, so you can see the size of the beans. They are quite larger than you think. I soaked them in water the night before, as usual. The next day the bowl was almost full! I couldn’t believe how much they swelled and how large they truly were. You will be surprised, too, if you haven’t cooked them before.
And you will definitely be surprised by the absolutely delicious flavor of the turkey legs. Even after braising in chicken broth they still have the great smoky flavor. That just shows you the quality of Frick’s Quality Meats. Their meats have THE BEST flavor.
I also cooked up some of their smoked ham in these grilled ham Hawaiian tacos. If you want something simple and quick to cook up, you need to try this recipe. It a family friendly one that you’re going to love. Along with their turkey legs, their ham is packed with smoked flavor.
Now, if you’re worried about that smoke flavor overpowering the broth, don’t. The smoke flavor stays in the turkey with every bite. That tender meat and the tender beans make for a great bowl of comfort. This recipe is perfect for a chilly Saturday or Sunday. It warms the house and you as you enjoy every bite!
I know what you’re thinking. “That’s a lot of work!” But it’s really not. Throw some stuff in a pot and then binge watch some shows. Strain and throw it back in the pot then simmer the beans for 30 to 45 minutes. Finally, stir in the remaining ingredients and serve. It’s very hands off. It just takes a while all the while being hands off. You got this!
I can’t wait to dig in to this hearty bowl of bean and smoked turkey. When serving, I focused on the large pieces of turkey and then spooned the beans and broth around it. I wanted the heart of the bowl to be smoked turkey. It’s the star of the dish. The rest are just supporting characters. Don’t get me wrong! They can easily stand up on their own in the bowl, but they’re meant to compliment the turkey. And that’s just what they do!
Looking for more bean soup ideas? Try some of these!
- Southwestern Pinto Bean Soup from An Affair from the Heart
- Bean and Bacon Soup from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Navy Bean Soup with Ham from Bowl Me Over
- Five Bean Chicken Chili from An Affair from theHeart
- Escarole & Bean Soup from LeMoine Family Kitchen
- Vegetable Bean Soup from Bowl Me Over
- Potato, Green Bean & Bacon Soup from An Affair From the Heart
- Pressure Cooker Bean and Bacon Soup from Lemon Blossoms
- Complete Guide to Homemade Soup from Bowl Me Over
- 2 Frick’s Quality Meat smoked turkey legs
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 large onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons celery flakes (or 2 talks of celery chopped)
- 1 pound butter beans
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 - 3 sprigs rosemary
- 2 to 3 sprigs thyme
- 1/3 cup tomato pesto
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place the turkey legs in a large stock pot with 6 cups chicken stock. Add the half an onion, 4 cloves garlic, and celery flake. Bring to a boil and simmer for several hours.
- Strain the broth and allow the legs to cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bone. Carefully remove any cartilage in the meat and roughly chop. Set aside.
- Put the broth back in the pot along with the sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Bring to a boil before stirring in the beans. Return to a boil and then reduce to heat to simmer. Check the beans after 30 minutes and then every 15 minutes after that to make sure they are tender enough for you.
- Stir in the tomato pesto and season with salt and pepper before serving with cornbread, crusty French bread, or raw onion like Dad does.