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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Turkey Gobbler

The Ingredients (for 4 to 6 servings):

  • 260 g (or 9 oz) of onions (I used spring onions in this instance)
  • 2 sticks of celery (140 g, or 5 oz)
  • 350 g (or 12 oz) of carrots
  • 230 g (or 8 oz) of meaty mushrooms (I use local Ali'i mushrooms, or Pleurotus eryngii)
  • 6 cloves of garlic (33 g, or 1 oz)
  • 690 g (or 1½ lb) of ground turkey
  • 8 g (or 1 teaspoon) of salt
  • 60 ml (or 4 tablespoons) of Worcestershire sauce
  • 15 ml (or 1 tablespoon) of dark soy sauce
  • 180 ml (or ¾ cup) of ale ( I used Smithwick's in this instance)
  • 40 g (or ⅓ cup) of finely ground garbanzo bean flour
  • 110 g (or 4 oz) of a hard cheese (I use Manchego, a family favorite)
  • cooking grade olive oil

    The Method:
    1. Wash and chop into small (1-cm, or ⅜-in) cubes the onion, celery, carrots, and mushrooms.
    2. Bruise and peel the garlic cloves, then pulverize them in a mortar and pestle or put them through a garlic press.
    3. Heat enough of the olive oil in a deep skillet or similar pan to cover the bottom easily. 
    4. Over medium heat, sauté the onions until they wilt or become transparent.
    5. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the ground turkey and garlic, stirring and breaking up the turkey meat to brown it slightly in the oil.
    6. Add the salt, Worcestershire sauce, and dark soy to the pan and stir briefly to distribute them evenly throughout.
    7. Add the celery, carrots, and mushrooms to the pan and stir to coat each piece with juices in the pan.
    8. Turn the heat to medium-low and pour the ale into the pan, stirring briefly to distribute it evenly throughout.
    9. Cover the pan and continue to cook over low heat for 10 minutes, or until the carrots are just barely tender.
    10. Take the pan off the heat, sprinkle the garbanzo bean flour over the turkey and vegetables, and stir it in thoroughly to thicken the mixture.
    11. Allow the turkey mixture to cool.
    12. Make a double recipe of Smashing Cauliflower as found elsewhere on this blog.
    13. About an hour before serving, set the oven temperature to 190°C (or 375°F).
    14. Grate the cheese finely and set it aside.
    15. Spray or drizzle olive oil into an oven-safe baking dish that will hold at least 1.9 l (or 2 qt). (In order not to overfill my 2-qt dish I also used a small, single-serving dish.)
    16. Pour the turkey mixture into the bottom of the baking dish and tamp it down flat.
    17. Ladle the cauliflower onto the turkey mixture and smooth it out to the edges of the dish.
    18. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top, and place the dish in mid-oven.
    19. After 17 minutes, open the oven and turn on the broiler, if necessary, to brown the cheese. This should take about 3 to 5 minutes. 

    The Story:

    Of course this recipe is modeled on shepherd's pie, substituting the lighter, low-carb cauliflower and the leaner turkey meat made chunkier and tastier with the vegetables and more aromatic with the ale. I denied my first instinct in not adding herbs and spices but letting the subtler flavors have their way. The result was a comfort food of the first order, and four of us had no trouble finishing most of the larger pie, with the smaller one going as a workday lunch the following morning. Thus I named the recipe 'Turkey Gobbler'.

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