The Surprising Ingredient I've Been Cooking With Lately

The Surprising Ingredient I've Been Cooking With Lately

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Kate Gagnon
Sep 9, 2014

This summer, there's been a new ingredient trending in my kitchen. While it was once never to be seen, it's now popping up in every other meal. It's lean, perfect for weeknight meals, and a versatile base to layer on complex flavors. What is it?

(Image credit: Kate Gagnon)

Ground turkey, of all things.

Growing up in the Midwest, turkey only referred to two things: a big, dry bird we smothered with cranberry sauce once a year and the occasional deli sandwich packed in our cold lunch. If you'd asked what I thought about turkey a year ago, I'm sure my response would have been a resounding "meh."

Somewhere along the way, turkey burgers started cropping up on menus. Perhaps in response to many people's realization that red meat is in fact not great to eat 24/7, the turkey burger was abundant. I always looked down on turkey burgers. In my mind, they were unimpressive, a lame compromise between the veggie burger and classic burger. It was often flavorless and dry, due to paranoia about cooking it all the way through. Once while working as a server, we were actually instructed to inform guests the turkey burger would take 30 minutes to prepare, after which people would either retract their order or receive the most thoroughly cooked piece of meat known to man.

But eventually I had a great turkey burger along the way. Nowadays, I've been cooking with ground turkey all the time, as my fiancée isn't a big fan of red meat. As an alternative to my summer favorite, we've cooked up and been super impressed by Yotam Ottolenghi's turkey and zucchini burgers with spring onion and cumin from the Jerusalem cookbook. This week, we loved Smitten Kitchen's sesame meatballs with smashed chickpea salad, pictured above (from the cookbook, but here's a test run of it via Fancy Casual).

Looking forward to fall, I can't wait to incorporate turkey into other favorites - soups, stews, bolognese. What are your favorite turkey recipes?

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