Chefs mashup flavors to create unusual combinations with familiar turkey.
By Lisa Parrish, GMC Editor
Ground turkey is familiar to most chefs. Cooks understand turkey is a lean protein that lends itself as a base to build various flavor combinations. The protein also snuggly fits into the current healthy food trend.
It is just this versatility that makes affordable ground turkey the perfect protein for culinary educators to teach flavor pairings and instruct students on new taste combinations.
For instance, let’s begin with the traditional burger, which is consumed at least once a week by 62 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds. Think about that: more than half of young adult millennials eat a burger at least one time a week. The demand is there. But, true to the millennial generation, 48 percent of that age group is interested in ethnic or themed burgers, and 45 percent think it’s important to be offered burgers with new and unique flavors.
Burgers move from traditional to untraditional
Swapping ground turkey for beef is the first step. But, instructors can now use this base to create applications from Asian to Moroccan influenced patties.
- Asian inspiration: Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese flavors are becoming more prevalent in the burger section. A kimchi turkey burger features a grilled turkey burger basted with soy sauce, surrounded by chili mayonnaise and kimchi, and sandwiched inside a Chinese steamed bun.
- Southwestern influence: Southwest is one of the top three consumer-favorite themes for burgers. Serve a side of salsa with the New Mexico turkey burger featuring chili-lime mayonnaise and guacamole.
- Bold breakfast: Chorizo is one of the trending toppings for brunch burgers, combining cravings for ethnic ingredients with the popularity of all-day breakfast. The open-faced turkey chorizo burger combines turkey chorizo, a turkey burger, egg and cilantro mayonnaise in between slices of corn bread, with a side of tomato pepper jam.
- Crowd-pleasing savory and spicy: This Buffalo turkey burger features a seasoned ground turkey patty garnished with blue cheese mayo. The Buffalo sauce and cayenne pepper deliver the zing consumers’ demand.
- Notes of sweet and spicy: This white turkey burger with cranberry chili chutney features a fruity garnish infused with chilis, jalapeños, cranberries and raisins. It makes for a well-balanced entrée thanks to the soothing layer of sweetness and bold notes of spice.
- Turkish smoky and spicy: Although not a burger, the meat-centric Turkey kofta takes ground turkey skewers to new lengths. A mix of coriander, allspice, paprika and cumin, kofta can dial up the flavor intensity with a heavy sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
Flavor mashups featuring turkey breast
Turkey breast is also well-known to most American cooks. However, pairing this protein with sweet, savory and tangy flavors, take these applications from usual to unusual and over-the-top.
- Sweet and savory Moroccan: With a Middle Eastern influence, this sweet-and-savory Moroccan-spiced turkey salad sandwich covers a flavor spectrum. Honey and dried apricots blended in Greek yogurt lend a syrupy touch to roasted turkey breast on rye.
- Sweet and tangy Asian: Try preparing this kung pao turkey salad for a health-conscious application that packs a punch. The citrus splash of house-made Kung Pao dressing harmonizes with the bitterness of bok choy or Napa cabbage.
Photos courtesy of Butterball Foodservice.