In a time of high food costs, people often look to cheaper proteins, but I think turkey is often overlooked because of its association with winter holiday meals.
Not just for Thanksgiving anymore
Turkey is a flavorful, inexpensive meat, and if you get a small bird (some stores even sell half-birds or breast roasts), you don't have to spend all day cooking it. Just wash it, dry it, give it a quick massage with some oil, salt and pepper, set the oven to 375°F, put the bird (or half-bird, or whatever) in a roasting pan, set the timer for 15 minutes per pound of meat and go find something else to do for a while.
The cooked meat is great everywhere you'd normally use chicken. Use it for turkey salad sandwiches. Put it in chili. Make yourself a Turkey Pot Pie.
Or take it to the Far East and toss your turkey meat into a green curry. I haven't dined on the local birds thereabouts, but I'd be willing to bet that turkey's gamier flavor probably tastes more like Thailand's native poultry than the standard American chicken does.
Obviously a handful fresh Kafir lime leaves would be great in this paste (just nix the lime juice if you're going that route), but I'm not putting them in the recipe because they're not terribly easy for a lot of people to find. If you can't find the lemongrass either, go ahead and skip that, too. Fish sauce is usually available in Chinese markets. Feel free to sub in baked or fresh tofu and go all vegetarian on this if that's how you want to play it.
Savory Green Curry (Serves 4)
For the Paste
5 green chilies or jalapeños (or less, to taste)
1 medium white onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves
1" piece ginger root, peeled
1-2 lemongrass bulbs (white section of the stalk), chopped
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fish sauce or dried shrimp paste (optional)
1 cup fresh basil (preferably Thai basil)
1 cup fresh cilantro
4 limes, zested and juiced
1/2 cup water
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
For the Curry
1 medium white onion, halved and sliced
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1" squares (or substitute 1 cup diced eggplant)
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 13 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 cups cooked turkey, cut into cubes (or cubed tofu)
Additional mint and cilantro (to garnish)
Lime wedges (to garnish)
Steamed rice or noodles (for serving)
1. In a blender or food processor, puree chilies, onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, cumin, coriander, black pepper, fish sauce, basil, cilantro and lime zest and juice. As you blend, add in enough water to make a smooth paste. Season to taste with salt and ground pepper.
2. Place a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat and warm the oil to the pan. Add in the onion and green pepper pieces (or eggplant), cooking 15 minutes to soften.
3. Add the green curry paste to the vegetables in the pan and allow it to cook for 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.
4. Stir in the broth, the coconut milk and the cooked turkey or tofu cubes. Blend well and bring the mixture to a simmer. Season to taste. The mixture should taste bright and herbaceous. If it seems a bit too sour, add a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to balance it out.
5. Garnish with additional cilantro, mint leaves and lime wedges (if desired) and serve with steamed rice or noodles.