October Beans, Smoked Turkey and Kale


October beans smoked turkey, and kale make the perfect bowl of comfort. Spoonfuls of veggies, shredded, slow-cooked turkey meat, kale, and creamy October beans with enough steamy broth to make it all go down nice and tasty. A great fall or winter recipe that goes so well with the chill that is in the air at that time of the year.


October beans.

October beans, sometimes called cranberry beans, cook a great bowl of creamy beans which sounded perfect for this time of the year. In my research, I discovered that, at one time, most people in the southern Appalachians grew at least one variety of October beans. The traditional Appalachian way of cooking the beans is with smoked ham hocks, low and slow until they are tender and creamy; accompanied by a corn muffin. The color of the beans is stunning, however, after cooking they lose the vibrant color – what a shame, however, the creaminess of the beans makes up for it.



Don’t be intimidated, cook a fresh stock:

Cooking fresh a good stock is one of my favorite things to do. The challenge with cooking stock is producing maximum flavor with pretty much inexpensive ingredients. I cook my stocks from less expensive cuts of meat or with inexpensive trimmings and bones. My recipe for Turkey Stock is another great example of a recipe that is easy to execute. 

Turkey Stock

Turkey stock is the perfect light stock for cooking legumes or vegetables.
I’m using smoked turkey legs because I want to add that layer of smokiness to my beans and more importantly, I like to control the sodium and fat that I add to my recipes. It’s traditional cooking to season collard greens or beans with smoked pork, usually the ham hock portion. Using a ham hock for a stock gives you way too many calories and sodium.  I use smoked turkey legs, fewer calories, and less sodium with the same awesome smokey flavor

The fact is that some foods just do not have enough elements that produce the flavor you are looking for.

Can you imagine cooking the October beans with kale using only water? Cooked only with water the October beans will create creaminess, but that’s all. You need a stock to add that layer of flavor.  Bones and meats, like a whole chicken or a smoked turkey leg, produce flavor and gelatine, adding spices and veggies kicks everything up a notch. Stock adds flavor, color, and richness to my cooking, and slow-cooked stocks you always will find in my freezer.

Purchased chicken stock or bases:

Feel free to use purchased chicken stock in my recipe, just make sure to select a good quality product.
Most purchased stocks are usually very high in sodium and contain Autolyzed yeast extract. Autolyzed yeast extract is a substance that results when yeast is broken down into its constituent components. It naturally contains free glutamic acid, or monosodium glutamate, and is often used as a less expensive substitute for MSG.

If you have the space buy a freezer:

A freezer will enable you to cook stocks in larger quantities keep them in the freezer for up to 6 months and use them as needed.
A freezer will also enable you to purchase meats in bulk, say a whole pig or a quarter of a cow is one way to eat on a budget.
Purchase produce at the height of its season and freeze. Freezing does not significantly reduce the nutritional value of the produce. You may be surprised, but research shows that certain frozen produce might have the edge over fresh when it comes to health.


Served with shaved parmesan cheese and a piece of grilled crusty farmer’s bread, October beans, smoked turkey, and kale is a quick nutritionally balanced meal.

October Beans

October Beans

October Beans, Smoked Turkey and Kale

Chef Norbert
Spoonfuls of veggies, shredded, slow-cooked turkey meat, kale, and creamy October beans with enough steamy broth to make it all go down nice and really tasty.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 493 kcal



Cook your Turkey Stock

  • Preferable you want to cook your turkey stock the day before

Schell the beans

  • Open the bean pods with a light squeeze and zip out the beans by running your finger down the inside of the pod. (or use dried October Beans)
    3 lb October beans

Sautee the vegetables

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add diced onions, carrots, and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent. Add chopped garlic, bay leaf, thyme, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and cumin.
    1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 20 oz celery, 20 oz carrots, 20 oz onion, 2 cloves garlic, 2 each bay leaf, 1 tsp cumin, ground, 1/2 tsp thyme leaves, 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes, 3/4 tsp pepper black

Add beans and stock

  • Add beans, diced tomatoes, and turkey stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about one hour until beans are tender. During cooking, stir frequently and add turkey stock, as needed.
    16 oz canned tomatoes

Add kale

  • Add kale, and the pulled meat from turkey legs, and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with Parmesan cheese and grilled bread.
    1 bunch kale

Chef Notes

  1. As with all stocks I sometimes reduce stock to a glace, pour it into an ice cube tray, and freeze it. Once they are frozen, shake them out from the tray store them in freezer bags, and use them as needed.
  2. Chilling the stock: The fat will rise to the top in a solid layer, making removing the fat easy 
  3. You can sub October beans with example dry Navy beans.
    I highly recommend soaking your beans before you cook them. They’ll be ready in a fraction of the time, and they’ll be much easier to digest. To do this, place the dried beans in a large bowl and add water to cover them by 2 to 3 inches. Leave the beans to soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight. In the morning, drain and rinse the soaked beans.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 493kcal | Carbohydrates: 88g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 272mg | Potassium: 1960mg | Fiber: 31g | Sugar: 15g

Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate

Keyword Beans, Smoked Turkey Leg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Join the Conversation

  1. Dolores Apton says:

    Sorry Norbert, I haven’t tried the recipe yet, but am intrigued . . . . October Beans, Smoked Turkey and Kale.
    My question is, can I substitute another bean. Cranberry beans are hard to come by, especially in winter, I imagine. Thank you for your beautiful website. I have shared it with my friend who thanks you for not filling pages with ads. I appreciate that too. Dolores

    1. Norbert Author says:

      Hi Dolores. Yes you can sub the fresh October Beans with dry example Navy Beans, (soaked overnight in water and drained)
      However, it’s important to remember that dry Navy Beans and fresh October Beans have different cooking times and textures.You may need to adjust the cooking time when using dry Navy Beans as a substitute. Additionally, Navy Beans typically have a creamier texture than October Beans, which are more meaty, however as long as you cook and use the smokey Turkey stock you will have a wonderful bean soup. Enjoy

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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