Low-Carb Recipe: Slow-Cooker Olive Turkey

13 Jan

For a text-only version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

Plain turkey drumsticks get a saucy makeover in this easy dish.

Note: I see James Ramsden also has a poultry-and-olive combo on his own blog this week, albeit Morrocan-style in his case. I guess great minds think alike!

Turkey drumsticks are a great sale find at our local grocery store, and I love thinking up new ways to present them. I also love using my Crock Pot as much as possible when I’m restricting carbs. It keeps meal preparation fun and gives me something to look forward to all day, instead of staring at yet another bunless hamburger when I get home. 🙂

The combination of dark meat and slow-cooking keeps this version moist and tender, and the Mexican ingredients are a perfect match for stronger-flavored game poultry.

Chef’s Note: If you’ve got to leave this in the Crock for 8-9 hours instead of 4-5 hours and your pot isn’t programmable (mine’s not), I’d recommend not only kicking the slow cooker down to LOW, but also using partially frozen drumsticks instead of fully-thawed. This should help keep your meat from getting too dry while you’re stuck at work.

You want your raw poultry to take up at least 1/2 the slow cooker.

Place 2 large turkey drumsticks in a medium-sized Crock Pot. If you’re using a really large Crock, you may want to consider doubling the batch (and freezing leftovers if necessary) to prevent overcooking or dryness. While beef and pork can cook nicely in virtually any size Crock, poultry really is a more delicate critter and you have to pay attention that at least half of your slow-cooker’s volume is filled with meat before adding other ingredients to keep it from drying.

Cover the turkey with a regular-sized jar (about 12-16 ounces) of chunky salsa.


Reading salsa labels at the grocery store is important when you’re low-carbing because there’s a vast range of sugar levels between brands. As a heads-up, organic versions tend to be lower in sugar, but there are usually comparable low-sugar ones in the regular Mexican aisle that won’t cost quite as much. Reading the labels is really the only way to find out.

For all of you discount shoppers out there, never fear. Roni over at GreenLiteBites (the healthiest site I know) swears by ALDI’s house-brand salsa, and she’s never steered me wrong before. 🙂

Don't drain!

Next, open a small (2- or 3-ounce) can of sliced black olives, but do not drain. Pour the olives, brine and all, over the salsa-covered turkey.

Three ingredients. How easy is this?

Cover slow-cooker and heat on HIGH for 4-5 hours, or until meat reaches internal temperature of 180F. Sizes, brands, and shapes of slow-cookers all vary, though, so go with your gut on this and start checking a little early if you’re unsure.

Scoop out all of the remaining salsa/olive sauce for garnish.

When drumsticks are fully cooked, remove from Crock Pot and scoop the leftover salsa/olive sauce on top.

Sprinkle drumsticks with shredded colby cheese and serve.

I like how the olives sort of glue themselves to the drumsticks. It makes me smile.


3 Responses to “Low-Carb Recipe: Slow-Cooker Olive Turkey”

  1. salina Porter January 14, 2011 at 8:57 AM #

    YUM! Can’t wait til I get off this “diet” to try it! 😀

  2. Gracie January 14, 2011 at 10:44 AM #

    🙂 I like that it involves about two minutes’ worth of prep work and no chopping. It was perfect when I was home with a grumpy Oliver the other day and had to get something going for dinner. No prep = my favorite kind of dinners!

  3. redforkhippie February 2, 2011 at 11:04 AM #

    Why would anybody put sugar in salsa? That’s just wrong. Remind me this summer, and I’ll post my salsa recipe so your readers can spend next winter eating REAL salsa that they canned themselves.

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