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Burger, spaghetti sauce, stuffed mushrooms...all with lean ground turkey.

Burger, spaghetti sauce, stuffed mushrooms . . . all with lean ground turkey

Among the best buys in the market today is ground turkey--freshly ground or frozen. You can use it much the way you'd use ground beef, but you need to proceed cautiously, since turkey can taste dry if not cooked appropriately. To take advantage of the meat's leanness, we've added a minimum of fat to the dishes here.

Cottage cheese adds moistness to oven-browned turkey patties. Lots of vegetables with turkey and tomatoes make a sturdy, satisfying pasta sauce. The appetizer is tender turkey baked in mushroom caps.

Lean Bird-and-Cheese Burgers

Embellish any way you like, with mustard, catsup, tomato slices, and lettuce.

1 pound ground turkey

1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies

1 cup small-curd cottage cheese

1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs

1 tablespoon bottled red taco sauce

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper

4 or 5 toasted hamburger buns

In a bowl, thoroughly mix turkey, chilies, cottage cheese, bread crumbs, taco sauce, and cumin.

Heat a 12- by 14-inch broiler pan with rack in a 500| over for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, divide turkey into 4 or 5 equal portions and shape each into a 3 1/2-inch-wide patty. With a spatula, slide patties onto the pan rack in oven, spacing well apart. Bake until patties are brown on top and no longer pink in center (cut to test), about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 3 minutes to firm slightly; season to taste with salt and pepper. Place patties, brown side up, on toasted buns. Makes 4 or 5 servings.

Pistachio-Turkey Appetizer Caps

40 mushrooms with 1 1/2- to 2-inch caps (about 2 lb.)

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon olive or salad oil

1 small onion, minced

1/2 cup minced salted pistachios

1/2 pound ground turkey

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 egg white

3 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Rinse mushrooms. Carefully break stems from caps; mince stems and set aside.

Arrange 1/3 of mushrooms, cups up, in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and cook over medium heat until cups have liquid inside, 3 to 4 minutes; turn mushrooms and cook until pan is almost dry, about 3 minutes more. Put mushrooms in an oiled 9- by 13-inch baking dish, cups up. Repeat to cook remaining mushrooms.

Add olive oil, minced mushroom stems, and onion to the frying pan over mediumhigh heat. Cook, stirring often, until onion is soft and mixture is dry. Add pistachios and stir until mixture is lightly browned; set aside to cool.

To onion mixture, add the turkey, cornstarch, egg white, bread crumbs, and mint; mix well. Divide meat in 40 equal portions and shape each into a ball. Set a ball in each mushroom cap and press down to settle firmly in place. If made ahead, cover and chill up to overnight. Bake mushrooms, uncovered, in a 500| oven until turkey is no longer pink in center (cut to test), about 15 minutes; serve hot. Makes 10 to 13 servings.

Turkey Marinara Pasta Sauce

Serve sauce on hot cooked pasta; offer parmesan cheese to sprinkle over it.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium-size onion, finely chopped

1 medium-size green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped

2 medium-size carrots, peeled and finely grated

1/4 pound mushrooms, rinsed and sliced

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

2 teaspoons dry basil

1 teaspoon dry rosemary leaves

1 teaspoon dry oregano leaves

1 pound ground turkey

2 large cans (28 oz. each) pearshaped tomatoes

1 large can (12 oz.) tomato paste

1/4 cup dry red wine

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper

In a 4- to 5-quart pan over medium-high heat, combine olive oil, onion, bell pepper, carrots, mushrooms, parsley, garlic, basil, rosemary, and oregano. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender to bite and have a sweet taste, about 15 minutes. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

To the same pan, add ground turkey; crumble and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until dry. Return vegetables to pan and stir often until meat is lightly browned. Add tomatoes and their juice, tomato paste, wine, and bay leaf. Stir well to free browned bits in pan and break up tomatoes. Bring to a boil on high heat, then cover and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir often.

Uncover and continue to cook until sauce is reduced to 10 cups, 40 to 50 minutes more; stir often to prevent sticking. Add salt and pepper to taste. Use hot or reheated. To store, let cool, cover, and chill up to 5 days; or freeze in easy-to-use amounts. Makes 10 cups; allow about 1 cup per serving.

Photo: Under toasted bun, juicy oven-browned ground turkey patty goes with lettuce, tomato, and mustard

Photo: Thick tomato sauce is chunky with browned ground turkey and vegetables

Photo: Tasty but lean appetizer: nestle ground turkey balls, seasoned with pistachios and fresh mint, in soy-cooked mushroom caps, then bake
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Goetze, Sandy
Date:Sep 1, 1986
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