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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Turkey Creole with Chayote




Here's another recipe from my mom, provenance unknown. A few things I like about this recipe:

  • It stretches a pound of ground meat to feed 8.
  • It's full of lots of healthy vegetables.
  • It's hearty, good for a cold winter night.
  • I have modified it to use chayote rather than okra. I'm a big fan of chayote, not so much of okra.
Chayote is a subtropical American squash. The name "chayote" is Mexican but it is also a popular vegetable in Louisiana where it goes by the name mirliton. So, using it here in a recipe for Turkey Creole is not as strange as you might think. Chayote is an excellent squash and deserves to be eaten more often. I prefer it to zucchini. It's less watery, sweeter, and just plain tastier.


You can use okra, if that is your preference. I've included it as a substitute for the chayote in the recipe.


Ground Turkey Creole
(serves 8)


Filling:
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 green pepper, cut into 1" chunks
1 pound raw ground turkey (or use ground beef)
2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 bay leaves
2 chayote squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4" chunks (or a 10 ounce box of frozen cut okra, slightly thawed)


Topping:
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stoneground
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup diced red and/or green pepper


1. In a large dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add turkey and cook, stirring to break into small chunks, until browned.
2. Add onions, green pepper, and saute until tender.
3. Add tomatoes and seasonings in filling. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Remove cover and simmer for 30 more minutes.
4. Add chayote (or okra) and cooked uncovered for another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
6. To make the topping, combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
7. Beat buttermilk, oil and eggs together. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just to combine. Fold in chopped peppers.
8. Remove bay leaves from filling. Spoon topping onto filling and spread to cover filling.
9. Bake for 25 minutes until topping is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Notes: For 5000 ft. altitude, reduce baking powder to 3/4 teaspoon. You can use whole canned tomatoes rather than crushed. Mash them up or puree them in a food processor before adding to filling.


Link to Recipe for Ground Turkey Creole

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