Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thai Turkey Bundles

Unfortunately the fall cold has gotten to me already!  Last night I made the chowder, ate it, hung out with the Cormiers for a bit - all feeling fine - and then, boom.  It hit me all of a sudden.  I started  sneezing and my nose was running and my eyes were itching.  It was really the strangest thing.  I was hoping it was allergies, but today I am still not feeling great, so perhaps it is more than pollen and mold.  Anyway, Mom and I had bought groceries today for a meal I was excited about, so even though I feel pretty crappy, I decided to make dinner.

My uncle used to have a bake-off and grill-off competition at his house every summer.  It was pretty awesome.  Everyone would bring their own grills and set up shop.  There were judges, and awards, and everything; and my family does not mess around when it comes to their food.  Lots of huge egos, great flavors, and good old-fashioned teasing!  I have great memories of watching my dad win many times, wrapping his dessert trays with fairy lights and using his laptop to play music to add ambiance!  Believe it or not, Jay and I won one year with a chocolate cake; I still have the cookbook we won.  My immediate family was best at the baking competition (now that I think about it, maybe this explains my affinity/love for baking!), but I do remember one year that we actually won the grilling competition.  It was my mom, and her amazing Thai turkey bundles. These delicious little Asian-inspired nuggets were wrapped in cool savoy lettuce leaves, and there was a ridiculously flavorful dipping sauce.  When Mom found the recipe in her files, I knew I had to make it.

This meal was pretty quick and easy to throw together.  I think it is pretty similar to making meatballs (not that I have ever made them, since meatballs are gross), because you mix up all sorts of things like ginger, water chestnuts, scallions and soy sauce into ground turkey.  They you make little "loaves" and either grill or broil them.  My mom grilled them when she won the award, but the grill kind of scares me, so I broiled them.  The recipe was doubled and supposed to make 24 little turkey bundles, but I made them much smaller and ended up with probably closer to double that amount.  Once they are cooked, you serve them in little cabbage leaf cups and dip them in the sauce which is a hodgepodge of everything you can imagine going into an Asian sauce: soy sauce, fish sauce, cilantro, sugar, lemon juice, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper.  There are a lot of flavors going on in this sauce!  It definitely makes the meal, so do not skip it or substitute!

These turkey bundles were a big hit.  Rachael actually said it was the best thing she ever ate!  Mom and Kenzie gave it rave reviews as well. Nick proceeded to devour them (without cabbage of course) until I mentioned the fish sauce in the dipping sauce, at which point he was "full" again (rumor has it he just went to McDonald's).  Nevertheless, this was an easy and very delicious dinner.  After all, it is award winning!


Thai turkey bundles
source.... TBD... it is photocopied on a piece of paper.  It does say Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen, so perhaps that's a clue!

1 beaten egg
1/2 cup coarsely chopped water chestnuts
1/3 cup fine bread crumbs
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash ground red pepper
1  1/2 pounds ground turkey
12 savoy cabbage leaves
1  recipe Thai dipping sauce (see below)

1)  In a large mixing bowl, combine egg, water chestnuts, bread crumbs, green onion, soy sauce, lemon juice, ginger, sugar, salt, and ground red pepper.  Add turkey; mix well.

2)  Shape into twelve 4 x 1/2 x 3/4-inch loaves (or smaller if you'd like!).  Grill over medium-hot coals or boil 3inches from heat for 12-14 minutes or till juices run clear, turning once.

3)  Serve each loaf wrapped in a cabbage leaf  (I recommend cutting out the thick white spine part and making each large leaf into two small ones).  Serve with Thai dipping sauce.

Thai dipping sauce

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon snipped cilantro, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil.

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