Farmhouse Turkey Hot Dish

“Hot dish” is Minnesotan for baked layers of starch, meat, vegetable and, typically, canned soup. In TV host and Twin Cities native Andrew Zimmern’s version, crisp brown Tater Tots provide the starch. “Nothing beats Tater Tots for this. Period,” says the chef. And the meat comes from freshly braised turkey legs, though 4 cups of shredded leftover meat would be excellent, too. Instead of the classic condensed mushroom soup, however, Zimmern makes a velouté sauce with the turkey braising liquid and sautéed mushrooms. Slideshow: More Turkey Recipes 

Farmhouse Turkey Hot Dish
Photo: John Kernick
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
3 hrs 40 mins
6 to 8


  • 2 whole turkey legs, cut into thighs and drumsticks (4 pounds)

  • 2 quarts chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 small carrots, chopped

  • 1 celery rib, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 small onion, chopped

  • 1/4 fennel bulb, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup thawed frozen peas

  • 1/4 cup minced parsley

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 1/2 pound mixed mushrooms, such as shiitake caps, cremini, white button, chanterelle and oyster, thinly sliced (3 cups)

  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup chopped tarragon

  • One 32-ounce bag frozen Tater Tots

  • Flaky sea salt

  • Hot sauce (optional)


  1. In a large saucepan, combine the turkey legs with the chicken stock and, if necessary, water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until the meat is cooked through, about 1 hour. Using tongs, transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let cool. Simmer the stock over moderately high heat until reduced to 4 cups, about 20 to 40 minutes. Shred the meat and discard the skin and bones.

  2. Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large pot, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Add the carrots, celery, onion, fennel, thyme and nutmeg and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the reduced stock, bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the turkey, cream, peas and parsley, season with kosher salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Spread in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

  3. In a large skillet, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the mushrooms and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tarragon. Spread the mushroom mixture over the turkey in the baking dish.

  4. Spread the tots over the mushroom mixture. Bake for 45 minutes, until bubbling and golden. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve with hot sauce, if desired.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight.

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