I’ll just say it: lean ground turkey can be dry and boring.
Back when I began having digestive trouble, I had to make the tough decision to give up ground beef. I found out that turkey was the easiest meat to digest, second only to fish, so ground turkey was the best alternative for my ground beef recipes. I really did like the 85% fat version, but my digestion wouldn’t hang with that either, so I had to switch to extra lean ground turkey. I was so disappointed in how tough and blah it was, and no amount of seasoning would help it.
Undeterred, I sought advice from my favorite cooking mentor, Julia Child (well, second only to Mom). I got out her cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, to see how the master chef might help me with my turkey problem. She did, and I bring you the magic tricks I found which will transform dry and boring meat into something delicious.
Here’s how to make lean ground turkey crumbles that taste amazing. (Watch for recipes you can use for the meat.)
How to Make Lean Ground Turkey Crumbles that Taste AMAZING
3 pounds 93% lean ground turkey
1/2 can organic diced tomatoes (optional)
1 box unsalted chicken or beef broth
Spray cooking oil
Preheat convection or conventional oven to 375.
Spray a roasting pan with with oil spray.
Put all three pounds of ground turkey into a mixing bowl. Add half of the the onions, spices, and the half can of tomato if you’re using it. (The high water content of the tomatoes makes the end result even juicier.)
Put all three pounds of the prepared meat into the roasting pan, then spray the surface of the meat lightly with oil spray. Sprinkle it with salt, pepper, and the rest of the seasonings, but not the tomato.
Bake the ground turkey until the top is nicely seared, approximately 50 minutes in the convection oven, 60 minutes in the conventional oven. You’re baking it just like you would a meat loaf.
When the turkey is done, carefully lift it from the pan and set it aside in a large bowl.
Now, do not drain any of the juices or the meaty bits that remain in the pan; place the roasting pan on the stove. The drippings and broth that’s left in the pan has two names in the culinary circles: the “sucs,” pronounced “suke,” or the “fond,” pronounced “fahn.” Its concentration of deep flavors are what make roasted meat and vegetables, and today, these turkey crumbles, taste absolutely delicious.
Now, add either ½ c chicken broth + 2 T white cooking wine, or ½ c beef broth + 2 T red cooking wine, to the roasting pan. The cooking wine is optional, but it plays a functional role. It “carries” the flavored oil into the meat and makes the flavors permeate.
Simmer the broth and sucs together until the mixture bubbles, and as it simmers, loosen the sucs that’s still stuck to the pan with a spatula or a flat wooden spoon.
When the sucs is all or almost completely blended into the broth, add the turkey back into the roasting pan and mix it all very well. If it seems dry, just pour more broth over it and stir well.
One quart-sized zipper bag holds one pound of turkey crumbles. Portion them by pounds and store in the freezer.
Now you’re recipe ready! No more messy meat pans to scrub in the evening when you’re tired. It’s a WIN!!!
And by the way, when I shared Julia Child’s meat cooking method with mom, she acted like, “well, sure. That’s how everybody did it back then.” I guess I had always been more interested in the result of the cooking than the process.