Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Try Ground Turkey for Tasty Fast Food

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Try Ground Turkey for Tasty Fast Food

Article excerpt

COOKS LOOKING for timesaving dishes will find ground turkey one of the most useful ingredients in the supermarket. It cooks rapidly and enables you to have a flavorful, satisfying, low-fat main course on the table in less than 15 minutes.

Ground turkey is widely available. You can use it to prepare many recipes that call for ground beef. Think of all the delicious possibilities; meatballs, burgers and meat loaf are only the beginning. I love ground turkey in spaghetti sauce and in sauce-like mixtures such as chili and sloppy joes.

Ground turkey is wonderful in picadillo, a savory and sweet Latin American dish usually made of ground beef or pork, cooked with onions, peppers, raisins, olives and capers. These "saucy" dishes keep the lean turkey moist and are also the easiest to make. You don't even have to shape balls or patties; you transfer the turkey from the package straight into the pan.

Although many recipes for chili and spaghetti sauce call for long simmering times, you can make tasty turkey versions that cook briefly. It is important to cook ground turkey thoroughly, but this takes only a few minutes. Once all the bits of ground turkey have changed color, the meat is cooked. Then you need only heat it with the herbs, spices and other ingredients to blend the flavors and thicken the mixture.

When I substitute turkey for beef or lamb, I often season the turkey more generously because it has a less pronounced flavor than other meats. To avoid a pale dish, I use flavorings that color the meat, such as tomato sauce or paste, soy sauce, curry powder, paprika or chili powder.

Ground turkey is especially suited to spicy preparations. I love it in Middle Eastern, Mexican and southwestern entrees, as well as in Chinese and Thai-style stir-fry dishes with vegetables.

Zesty picadillo is a popular Latin American filling for empanadas, tamales and vegetables. It is also delicious on its own, accompanied by rice or rolled in hot tortillas.

TURKEY PICADILLO

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 pound ground turkey

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano, crumbled

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup raisins

1/2 cup diced green olives

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped

1 to 2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped (optional)

Heat oil in large skillet. …

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