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Odd Couples—My Favorite Nontraditional Turkey Pairings


Mar 29, 2018

One of the things I love most about turkey is its ability to pair well with so many other ingredients. It tastes delicious with understated sauces or seasonings, but it’s also a great starting point for bold and unique flavors. Everyone knows turkey and cranberry go well together. And there’s no denying turkey and smoky, barbecue flavors are a perfect fit. So I’d like to talk a little more about the not-so-expected tastes chefs can bring to turkey.

Throughout my time in the foodservice industry, I’ve been consistently surprised by how well turkey takes on flavors from around the world. It works unbelievably well with Korean barbecue, especially when served on kimchi pancakes. Turkey shawarma is another application I really like, as well as Italian dishes. I make turkey meatballs all the time. I know turkey is healthier, but that’s not the main reason I use it. The flavor is remarkable.

Turkey also goes great with all kinds of fruits—not just cranberry. I often experiment: different fruit glazes on a roast and serve turkey breast, strawberry and mango salad topped with turkey medallions, mixed fruit chutney spread on a turkey sandwich. It’s all delicious.

When it comes to side dishes, chefs should think beyond mashed potatoes and stuffing. I love serving roast turkey with Brussels sprouts, pickled vegetables or grilled vegetables topped with a brown butter vinaigrette.

It’s easy to associate turkey with holiday flavors, but it has so much more potential on menus. It’s the ideal protein to work with when you’re feeling extra creative. Just let your imagination wander, and I think you’ll end up with a great-tasting turkey dish nine times out of 10.

What’s your favorite turkey pairing? Share it with me on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Talk to you soon!