Turkey Shepperd’s Pie

On a cold night meat and mashed potatoes sounds like a good plan to me. This Sheppard’s Pie is made with Turkey as an alternative to lamb or beef. This is really a Cottage pie because Sheppard’s pie is traditionally referred to a pie made with lamb however, either way it’s hearty, warming and full of flavour. Big Pete loves meat and mashed potatoes any night!
You will need:
  • 1 pound of ground turkey – I used thighs.
  • 1 onion – chopped fine
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 carrot -grated 
  • 1 celery stalk – chopped in fine dice
  • 3 cloves garlic – chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated horseradish (or in a jar is fine)
  •  2 tbsp roasted hot chilies (you can use these from a jar or make your own)
  • 2 tbsp dry porcini mushrooms- soaked in water and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms – chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme -chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary – chopped 
  • 1 tbsp dry herbs de province
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp flour
  • 3-4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 litre chicken broth
  • 4 potatoes – boiled and mashed with butter and milk
  • 2 tbsp Boursin cheese
  • salt and pepper 
Gather and chop or grate your ingredients
Step 1: in a large saute pan start to saute chopped onions in some olive oil. Saute for 5 minutes on medium heat. You might just start to get a bit of browning around the edges at this point. Add carrot and celery and fry another few minutes.
Step 2: add the ground turkey and turn up the heat to cook meat. You will need to cook off most of the water. Since there is not much fat in turkey you may wish to add more olive oil to the pan.
 Cook 5- 10 minutes.
This is a fresh horseradish, however you can easily replace this with horseradish in a jar.
Step 3: add grated fresh horseradish and chopped garlic
chop roasted hot or sweet pepper and fresh herbs.
soak some porcini in hot water
Step 4: add chopped chilies, fresh herbs, mushrooms, dry herbs, tomato paste and flour. Cook a few minutes then add wine and cook to reduce for another few minutes.  Add chicken broth and allow gravy to thicken and cook.
Set aside in either one dish or two. I make one to eat and one to freeze.
Step 5: peel, chop, boil and prepare mashed potatoes. If you want some additional flavour add some herbs or some boursin cheese.
Step 6: layer some mashed potatoes on top of meat and gravy, add a sprinkle of herbs and bake at 375 degrees F until bubbling and hot. Approx 30 minutes.
serve with fresh bread and a salad.

Turkey Chili

On a cold night a nice bowl of Turkey Chili along with some fresh Honey Multigrain Bread make the perfect companions. This one if filled with a medley of beans, chilies and ground turkey.
You will need:
  • 3 different chilies- a variety gives heat and balanced flavour
  • 1 onion- chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey (you can use less if you prefer a higher bean to meat ratio)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup dried mixed beans = 3 cups re hydrated beans or canned beans if you prefer
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 4-5 mushrooms – chopped
  • 1 small zucchini- chopped (approx 3/4 cup chopped)
  • 1 small can of crushed tomatoes (14 oz)
  • 1 cup chicken broth or water
  • salt/pepper
  • fresh lime wedges to serve
  • sour cream
  • cilantro
Step 1: if using dried beans soak in 5 cups of cold water 8 hours or overnight.
Step 2: in a large pot cover beans with water (do not add salt or the beans will not absorb water properly and soften) cook on a low simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour until soft. You don`t want to cook on a rolling boil or the skins will burst. Gentle baby!
Step 3: chop onions, garlic, mushrooms and zucchini.
Step 4: in a dry pan let chilies get blackened and toasted. This will take 5-10 minutes. If you prefer a hotter chili  then add more peppers and keep the seeds. My chili is a mild/medium heat. Once blackened cover in a bowl with plastic wrap. Wait a few minutes then peel off the skin and remove stem and seeds.(..or not!)

Step 5: saute the onions, garlic and then the turkey in a few tbsp olive oil. 
Step 6: in another pan saute the zucchini and mushrooms until all the water has evaporated and then add all your spices to cook for another minute or two. This way the spices bloom in the hot oil and become more fragrant than just adding it to your sauce.
Step 7: add the chopped chilies, mushrooms and zucchini to the pot with the turkey. Stir to incorporate.
Step 8: add tomatoes and water or broth and cook 15-20 minutes. Taste it to adjust the seasoning if necessary. 
Serve with a squeeze of lime and some cilantro and sour cream. It’s hearty nutritious and soul satisfying on a cold night!

Chestnut and Cranberry stuffed Turkey Breast

If you have a small group for Thanksgiving a great alternative to preparing a whole bird is to stuff a turkey breast or a few turkey thighs. I have even prepared one of each to satisfy the people who prefer the white and dark meat. This is also a nice way to prepare the meat and stuffing a week or two before and then freeze it until you are ready to have your dinner.  You can easily make the stuffing with your favourite ingredients to make this a family favourite. I like it for me and Big Pete because when there is just two of us it is a perfect size for dinner and leftovers! 

You will need:

  • 1 turkey breast- butterflied
  • 4 slices good quality bacon or sausages (I would use fresh Italian sausages
  • 6 slices good quality white bread (not WonderBread )
  • 6-8 button mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme- chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary-chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley (preferably flat not curly)
  • 1/2 cup cooked chestnuts (approx 6-8 chestnuts)
  • 1 onion chopped fine
  • olive oil for frying onions
  • 3 green onions/scallions- chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries- chopped 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp dried poultry seasoning
  • 1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • pancetta to cover the turkey.
  • onions and garlic to form a bed under the turkey

Step 1: Start with a good quality turkey breast. It is expensive but, it goes a long way to feed a crowd or a small gathering will have decent leftovers. Butterfly the turkey to make it as uniform as possible in order to stuff and roll.

Step 2: chop bacon slices and fry until cooked and almost to the crispy stage. No wobbly fat should remain. Chop to smaller pieces.
Step 3: chop cooked chestnuts. I buy them when I see them in the market then I bake them in the oven, peel them and freeze them for when I want them. I have just thawed and chopped.
Step 4: chop onion and fry in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Always season your food at every stage to make it flavourful. Add chopped mushrooms and  cook until water has evaporated and mushrooms are starting to brown.
Step 5: chop bread into cubes removing crusts. Do not buy WonderBread. Use a white bread with a bit of substance. I have used Cobbs  white Bread, it has no artificial ingredients and has a bit of chew to it. I have toasted it in a 350 degree oven for approx 15 minutes to dry it out. Add the toasted bread and bacon bits to a large bowl.
Step 6: add cooked onions and mushrooms, chopped chestnuts, chopped green onions to bowl.
Step 7: add chopped cranberries, parsley, thyme, rosemary,eggs, apple juice,milk and dried spices. Let liquids absorb into bread 20 minutes. You can also fry a bit to taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Step 8: sprinkle a bit more parsley on the turkey as well as salt and pepper.
Step 9: add the stuffing and get someone to help you roll up and tie the turkey to contain the stuffing. At this stage you can wrap and freeze it or roast it in the oven. I always make the roll a week or two before I serve it so that I have an easy day just preparing the vegetables and dessert.
Step 10: in a roasting pan add some olive oil and a couple of chopped onions, a few cloves of garlic and you can also roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnip or whatever root vegetables you like.
Step 11: I have added some slices of pancetta to the top of the turkey breast to keep it moist while roasting. Pancetta is an un-smoked bacon. I roast the turkey for 2 hours at 375 degrees F. I removed the pancetta after the first hour to let the turkey develop a nice brown top. I also sprinkle the skin with flakes of salt to get nice and crispy. If the pan gets too dry at any point you can add a splash of apple juice to deglaze and prevent burning.
Step 12: once done allow to rest at least 15 minutes before removing twine and slicing.
You can make a nice pan gravy and serve with your favourite veggies to make the perfect dinner!

Turkey Steaks with white wine mushroom pan sauce

 When you see turkey in the market why not pick it up? Turkey make a nice alternative to chicken and everyone loves it. This is quickly cooked and then a simple sauce is made in the same pan to top.

You will need:

  • 4 pieces of turkey breast
  • salt/pepper – to your taste
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  •  1-2 cups sliced mushrooms (any kind)
Step 1: place turkey on a plate and drizzle with olive oil. Add salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, mustard and fresh thyme leaves. Let sit to marinate 30 minutes in fridge.
Step 2: add more olive oil to hot pan and saute approx 4 minutes on each side. 
Step 3: once browned and cooked remove from pan.
Step 4: add a bit more olive oil and the sliced mushrooms to the same pan and saute until browned around the edges. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
Step 5: once the mushrooms are dry and browned slightly add the white wine and butter. Cook for 1 minute and then add the turkey back to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes more until the sauce has reduced slightly.
I have served with the sauce and mushrooms on top. I have also cooked asparagus and broccoli spears in a pan with 2 tbsp of water and 2 tbsp olive oil. I cover the pan and wait until I can hear that the water has evaporated and the oil is starting to fry the vegetables. This way I have steamed them for a few minutes and then I serve with a squeeze of lemon and salt/pepper.

Turkey Sausages

Ah, the long hot days of summer when the thought of heating up the kitchen seems unthinkable. I have been doing everything to come up with creative ways to grill dinner outside. This is just another easy dinner served with some grilled sweet potato slices and a fresh salad. Ground meats of any kind can be used.

You will need:

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 onion-grated
  • 1/2  large tomato-grated
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 2 green onions-chopped fine
  • 1 tsp  Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 sun dried tomatoes-chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp orange marmalade 
Step 1: put turkey in bowl. Add grated onion (I just use a plain old box grater) and grated tomato. Crush garlic clove and chop green onions.
Step 2: add remaining ingredients and mix. 
Step 3: form into patties or sausages.
Step 4: grill to perfection and enjoy on the deck with your favourite people!

Honey Garlic Turkey Nuggets

I like to cook with turkey tenders. They are cost effective and they come in generous portion packages. I have made some honey garlic turkey nuggets in this recipe. They are partially cooked in the microwave and then quickly fried, then tossed in a sticky coating. They can be partially fried and finished in the oven if you want to prepare them the day before serving.
You will need:
  • 2 turkey tenders (of course you can also use chicken breast or thighs)
  • salt/pepper
  • granulated garlic
  • 1/3 cup mustard (any kind)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup semolina or corn meal
  • bar-b-q seasoning
  • Italian seasoning
  • hot paprika
  • sweet paprika
  • grape seed oil (or canola for frying)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 1-2 tbsp orange juice (if necessary to thin out sauce)
Step 1: I start with a nice quality turkey tender. In my meat market they sell 2 in a package.
Step 2: I find it easy to cut into chunks when the meat is partially frozen. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and granulated garlic.
Step 3: on a large plate microwave the meat for 1 minute. Flip the meat and bring the outside pieces to the inside so they cook evenly. Cook for another 1 minute.
If you have any pieces that still have not turned mostly an opaque partially cooked. Then cook a further 30 seconds. Let turkey cool.
Step 4: toss the partially cooked turkey in mustard to coat. I have used a spicy horseradish mustard and a hot mustard combination. 
Step 5: in a bowl mix flour and semolina or cornmeal and lots of spices. You add more than you think you should in order to make a tasty breading.
Step 6: I use tongs to toss each piece of meat in flour.
Step 7: heat oil to 375 degrees F and fry turkey until browned. I like to use grape seed oil but you can use canola or peanut. You will not have to cook them  long since you have partially cooked your meat. Remove to paper towels to remove excess oil.
Step 8: in a small saucepan heat honey, garlic and orange marmalade. This will make it runny and easy to toss the chunks in. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve with a salad.