Kurdish Turkey Squash Stew with Wheat Berries

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turkey stew

I piqued a lot of interest and recipe requests when I announced I was making Kurdish turkey stew.  Lamb is most popularly used in most Kurdish cuisines; specifically in stews. For this lighter version, I used turkey breasts. Kurdish people are known for their creativity in utilising their grains and legumes.  They often incorporate them in their stews which I did for this recipe.I also threw in some squash for some heartiness. I used wheat berries but bulgur wheat works perfectly for those in need of a shortcut as bulgur wheat doesn’t require a lot of cooking time. Aside for the fact that this stew is filling, it has a nice balance of sweet and tangy flavours. If you are in need of weekend dinner ideas, this recipe is a winner. It is a crowd-pleaser as well unless you or your guests don’t like stew (I can’t imagine why there would be anyone who wouldn’t).At that time, I wasn’t feeling up to cooking and serving whole turkey but I gave this recipe a Thanksgiving twist. Regardless of the holiday and ingredients you decide to use, this stew is perfect all year round.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 1 cup of wheat berries
  2. 2 lbs of turkey breasts or boneless turkey cut into cubes
  3. 1 lbs of squashed, peeped, seeded, and cubed
  4. 2 green bell peppers chopped
  5. 1 onion chopped
  6. 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  7. 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  8. 4 cups of chicken ,turkey broth or water  divided plus more
  9. 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  10. 1/4 cup of dried cranberries or raisins (optional)
  11. 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley chopped
  12. 1 teaspoon of paprika or cayenne pepper
  13. 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  14. Salt and pepper for taste


Fill wheat berries with 2 cups in a stock pot. Cook for an 1  1/2 to 2 hours. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and saute turkey for a couple of minutes on each side.  Remove turkey and add the vegetables and cook till soft. Transfer turkey and vegetable to the pot with wheat berries. Season with salt, pepper, turmeric, paprika, and parsley. Add crushed tomatoes and 2 remaining cups of broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for be hour and a half. Add more liquid as needed. Add dried cranberries and lemon juice during the last 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Yields 4 to 6 servings

One thought on “Kurdish Turkey Squash Stew with Wheat Berries

    Haveil Havalim | Soldiers Mother said:
    July 23, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    […] This one’s on food…sounds like something I might try to make: Chaviva Karon presents Kurdish Turkey Squash Stew with Wheat Berries. […]

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