Posts Tagged ‘turkey’
One night last week I found Mr. T wandering about the kitchen asking–with just a slightly plaintive edge–”what are we doing for dinner?”, which is code for: “are you cooking or do we need to go out?” Having been out to several very nice dinners in the days prior, it was obviously time for me to step up, so I set about rummaging around in the refrigerator for dinner. It did not look that promising: a pound of ground turkey, two sad strawberries, and some random vegetables. It was also the first hot day of summer (calendars be damned) and we were unaccountably really hungry, so I wanted something that would be substantial and tasty, yet sit lightly.
Circling back to that ground turkey and the lettuce sitting next two it, I started thinking about larb gai, the Thai ground chicken salad. Spicy and savory, with nary a heavy carb in sight, it seemed like just the thing. Excited by the prospect of tangy, pungent meat wrapped up in cool lettuce leaves, I set right to work without bothering to do any research to further my somewhat hazy conception of larb gai.
Nevertheless, I kept in mind the hot-sour-spicy-sweet balance that marks so much Southeast Asian cooking and mixed up a dressing accordingly. I also pulled out a trick from my peanut sauce recipe, hot-sauteed the shallots almost to the point of charring to coax out the burnt, caramelly notes also found in Thai cuisine. And, in truth, this really hit the spot. Warm, the turkey mixture was a pleasantly spicy, tingly contrast to the cool, crisp vegetables and made for a restorative and delicious weeknight meal.
Ground turkey is a staff-of-life staple in my kitchen–easy protein that can go into chili, get mooshed into burgers, or jacked up with bacon and sauteed veggies for a modern twist on that American classic, meatloaf.
Now, anything with the suffix -loaf is generally suspect in my book, but this is a savory supper that screams nostalgia without the narsty packaged nonsense that “revolutionized” cooking fifty years ago. No convenience foods here, kids, but it’s still an easy, homey dish that evokes Mad Men-style memories without the icky stuff (Velveeta, injustice, etc).
The whole saute and process routine may seem like a bit of a palaver, but I’ve done this everywhich way, and precooked veggies and raw bacon is TOTALLY the way to go. Trust me. The apple is a stealth ingredient, adding a subtle flavor and fragrance that sets off the salty bacon and–let’s face it–the blandness of the turkey.