When I cook I try to make the dish healthy by cutting down on fat and sugar where possible. So, for this recipe I replaced ground beef with a mixture of ground chicken and ground turkey – a tip from my friend, Steff. I also bulked up the sauce with cannellini beans.
Because both chicken and turkey give out a certain amount of water, you may find that the sauce is a bit too runny. If so at the end of the cooking time cook for a little longer at a higher heat to reduce the liquid.
Just before serving I add small pieces of goat’s mozzarella which start melting and going gooey (more credit to Steff) and I serve this sauce over rice noodles – the thicker kind if you can find them – but it would be good with a baked potato, over rice or zucchini ‘pasta’.
1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion – finely chopped
2 large cloves of garlic – grated
1 pound of ground chicken
1 pound of ground turkey
1 cup passata
1 cup chicken broth
2 oz. goat’s mozzarella – cut into small pieces
Heat seasoned oil in a cast iron casserole dish and, when sizzling, add the onion and let soften and brown, then add the garlic, stir and let cook for a few minutes.
Stir in the ground chicken and turkey and break up the meat so it isn’t in clumps. Let the meat brown as this will add more flavor to the sauce.
When the meat is nicely browned stir in the passata and the broth and bring to the boil and let simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Serve before the cheese fully melts.
The turkey version of Shepherd’s Pie is a lighter, leaner version and at this time of year may be a good way to use up leftovers from Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner – turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy or turkey broth (all presuming there are any).
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
3 tbsp. olive oil – of which 1 tbsp. is seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. onion – chopped
2 lbs. ground turkey
8 oz. carrots – cut into slices and the slices cut into quarters
8 fl. oz. turkey or chicken broth + 5 tbsp for the mashed potatoes
8 oz. frozen peas
1 1/2 lbs. mashing potatoes – peeled and cut into chunks
Heat 1 tbsp. oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper in a skillet and when sizzling add the onion and let soften and brown then remove to a large bowl.
Add ground turkey to the skillet and sear it then add to the onions along with the carrots and peas.
Pour over 8 fl. oz. broth and mix well before placing mixture in an ovenproof dish.
Cook potatoes in boiling water until soft enough to mash, drain and mash with 3 tbsp. oil and 5 tbsp. broth.
Spread mashed potato over the turkey mixture and cook in oven for 40 minutes.
Chicken often needs a sauce or herbs or a good gravy to make it less bland and because I poached the chicken in the citrus juices it was also very moist. At the end of cooking some of the juices were added to a honey and soy sauce mixture and then poured over the chicken.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2 chicken breasts
1 tbsp. olive oil
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of half a lemon
Juice of half a lime
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. gluten free soy sauce
1 tbsp. honey
Tear off a piece of aluminum foil big enough to wrap the chicken breasts in and put it in a roasting pan. Place chicken breasts on top and pour over the oil followed by the various juices then season well. Wrap the chicken breasts well in the foil ensuring that none of the juice escapes.
Cook for 45 minutes, basting every 15 minutes.
When cooked remove the chicken, cut into slices and place on a warm plate.
For the sauce mix the honey and soy sauce together then add 2 tbsp. of the citrus juice that the chicken was cooked in.
Turkey Roll-ups (serves 4)
These are good for lunch and sort of like a sandwich without the bread or a wrap without the wrap – basically, just the innards. I think if you use pre-sliced turkey (the sort that comes sealed in plastic at the supermarket) it will roll up just fine. I had mine cut at the deli counter and it was a little thin so I shall ask for thicker next time. Lay the turkey on a chopping board and spread each slice (say 2 per person) with a dollop of homemade lemon hummus (see my recipe), top with thin slices of avocado and cucumber. Then roll up and eat. If making ahead to go in lunch box or for a picnic I would toss the avocado in a little lemon juice before rolling up in turkey. This will prevent the avocado from going brown.
8 slices of roast turkey
1/2 an English cucumber – thinly sliced
1 avocado – thinly sliced.
Prepare as above.
Turkey and Spinach Soup (serves 4)
Have not been able to cook for almost a week due to back issue (thought it better not to take a director’s chair into the kitchen, as I might end up with a worse problem!). Turkey + spinach + cannellini beans = bland. Add harissa paste (tracked down in Whole Foods) = delicious. This is a hearty soup – really a meal in itself. Could do well in a container for lunch.
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 x onion – finely chopped
2 x garlic cloves – finely chopped
1 pound ground/minced turkey (Whole Foods ground turkey has no added ‘natural flavorings’)
6 oz baby spinach
3 cups vegetable broth/stock
1 x can of cannellini beans
1 tbsp. harissa paste
Heat seasoned oil in a cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add onion and leg soften for a few minutes.
Then add garlic and let cook for a few minutes.
Then add turkey and separate with a spatula so it is not in large chunks.
When turkey is a little browned, add spinach and broth.
Bring to boil and simmer with lid on for 10 minutes.
Then add cannellini beans and harissa paste and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Turkey Meatballs (makes 10 – 12)
These meatballs, if you make them small, would be good as cocktail nibbles. I made mine the regular size. My meatballs stuck together without the use of an egg or breadcrumbs. My meatballs are a mixture of ground turkey, chopped cilantro, spinach and garlic. Once they were ball-shaped I rolled them in a roasting tin greased with olive oil, then I poured over lemon juice and I basted them half way through cooking. Could be made with ground chicken too.
1 pound of ground turkey
5 oz baby spinach – cooked in a little water
Handful of cilantro – finely chopped
3 medium cloves of garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
Place ground turkey in a mixing bowl while spinach is cooking.
Place cilantro, garlic and well-drained and dried spinach in a food processor.
Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Grease roasting tin.
Roll turkey meatballs in the oil.
Pour over lemon juice so that each meatball gets some.
Cook for 30 minutes, basting half way through.
Festive Turkey (serves 4)
Original mincemeat (now the filling of mince pies in the UK) actually had meat in it and was a medieval/Elizabethan dish. I thought I would try to make something approximating traditional mincemeat using ground turkey, apples, spices and no suet. Think the mix of sweet and savory will work but had to wing it on the spices so I tried coriander powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and red pepper. Was trying to think what people would flavor foods with in those days (probably to disguise the fact that the meat might be a little off!). It turned out to be very tasty and different. Think it would work well with ground chicken or ground pork, though traditionally ground lamb or beef were used.
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil – seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound of ground turkey
1 x cup of vegetable broth
1 apple – chopped into small chunks (I left peel on mine)
Good handful of golden raisins
1/4 teasp. ground coriander
1/4 teasp. ground nutmeg
1/4 teasp. ground cinnamon
1/8 teasp. ground cayenne pepper
4 x cloves
Heat oil in a skillet.
When sizzling add ground turkey and let brown for a few minutes.
Add broth, apple and raisins and stir.
Then add the rest of the ingredients and cook until turkey is properly cook and apple is soft.
If you find that you have too much liquid reduce it a bit (as apple and turkey also produce water).