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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Recipes: Jamaican Jerk Leftover Turkey with Pasta

As Thanksgiving approaches, it's time for this year's recipe. Having previous discussed cranberries and a quick and easy way to cook turkey, now let's move on to what is, for me, one of the best things about Thanksgiving: leftover turkey in the days that follow. Now, I like turkey sandwiches as much as anybody (try one sometime with the spiced cranberries mentioned above spread on the bread), but after a while you may find yourself yearning for some variety. Here's a spicy alternative which is simple to fix, quick, and sublimely tasty.

This recipe is adapted from the Jerk Chicken and Pasta recipe posted by Terry Coonan, but modified in a variety of ways to make it simpler, better tasting (in my opinion), lower in calories, and suited to cold leftover turkey instead of freshly grilled chicken breasts.

Ingredient Quantity
Leftover turkey meat 350 g
Tagliatelle or fettuccini pasta 250 g
Olive oil 2 Tbsp
Garlic purée 1 Tbsp
Onion 1/2 medium
Jerk paste 1 Tbsp
Ground coriander 1 Tbsp
Yoghurt 180 g
Lime juice 4 Tbsp (1 lime, juiced)
White wine 1/4 cup
Chicken bouillon cube 1 cube (10 g)
Corn starch or
instant sauce thickener
3 Tbsp
Sea salt 1 tsp
Black pepper, fresh ground 1 tsp
Water 1/2 cup

Slice the turkey meat into slabs about 1 cm thick, then cross-cut the slabs to yield cubes around 1 cm on a side. Set aside. Fill a medium-sized saucepan (taller is better) with two litres of water and 1/4 tsp of salt and place on high heat. We'll proceeed with the following while it's coming to a boil.

Place the olive oil in a small saucepan. Slice the half-onion into thin slices (2–3 mm thick), then stack the slices and cut into quarters and add to the olive oil along with the garlic purée. If you don't have the purée (“garlic in a tube”), dice or press two cloves of garlic and add them instead. Cover the pan and place on high heat. When the garlic and onion begin to sizzle, reduce heat to medium-high, stir to separate the onion into individual pieces and mix with the garlic, re-cover and allow to sauté for about two minutes; stopping immediately if the onion and garlic begin to turn brown.

Add the white wine and turn the heat back to high. If the cooking garlic has “spit” onto the lid of the pan, pour the wine on the lid and then into the pan to chase the garlic back where it belongs. Leave the lid off and bring to a boil. Add the bouillon cube, ground coriander, jerk paste (I prefer this—no relation), salt, pepper, 1/2 cup of water, and lime juice. Allow to come to a boil, stir well until you're sure the bouillon cube has dissolved and reduce heat to low.

If you have instant light sauce mix (I use this), add it to the liquid while stirring constantly to avoid lumpiness. Allow to cook for one to two minutes until the sauce becomes thick. If you're using straight corn starch, about the only way to avoid lumps is to mix it with water, adding water and stirring (don't forget to scrape the powder from the edges of the bowl) until you have a somewhat runny paste. Add this to the liquid, again stirring constantly.

Once the mixture thickens, add the yoghurt and stir well until the colour is uniform. Because the sauce is so thick, you may have to chase it out from the edge of the bottom of the pan to mix it completely. Turn the heat back up to medium and add the cubed turkey meat (you remember the turkey meat—this is a recipe about the turkey meat) and stir until the meat is well covered by the sauce. Cover the pan.

By now the saucepan of water should be boiling vigourously. Add the pasta and boil for the time specified on the package (usually around two minutes for fresh, six for dry). Particularly with fresh pasta, you may have to reduce the heat to keep it from boiling over. Stir well when you first add the pasta and occasionally thereafter. When the pasta is cooked, drain in a colander. While the pasta is cooking, check the sauce and stir from time to time; if it begins to boil (because of its thickness, this will be more like the “blop blop” of a mudpot than boiling water), reduce heat to a simmer and stir well.

Pour the cooked pasta in an oven-safe mixing bowl, pour the sauce and turkey cubes over it, and mix well (I find that tossing the mixture with two serving spoons like a salad does the job) and serve immediately. The ingredients above make two to three portions.

If you find it too hot, add additional yoghurt to cool it down this time, and use less jerk paste the next. You should be able to easily pick out the tang of the lime juice: if you can't, or you find it too dominant, adjust the quantity accordingly. If you have chicken or turkey stock left over, use it instead of the bouillon cube and water.

Bon appetit—vive les restes de dinde!

Posted at November 25, 2009 00:47