Turkey mince is extremely lean and has become very popular over recent years as more and more of us seek out lean protein.
As part of our Back to Basics series, we’re looking at some common ingredients and giving you advice on how to make the most of them. Previously we looked at scallops, housekeeper’s cut of beef and chicken thighs; today we're looking at turkey mince.
Known as ground turkey in the US, turkey mince has become hugely popular in Ireland recently. It’s far leaner than minced beef - per 100g, it contains around 100 calories and a whopping 25g of protein. Usually made with the meat from excess thighs and drumsticks, turkey mince is packed with flavour but can dry out quite quickly. To avoid this, it's important to cook the meat carefully and ensure you don't overcook it.
It can be helpful to add another element to turkey mince to make sure it stays moist – cooking it in a sauce, for example, or using half turkey mince and half pork mince in mixes for burgers or meatballs.
Turkeys are native to the Americas, particularly areas east of the Rockies including Mexico and California. They were first domesticated by the Mayans in Guatemala over 2,000 years ago before being brought to our shores by European colonisers. Originally they failed to thrive in Europe – and were almost extinct 100 years ago due to over-hunting – but now turkey is at the centre of celebratory meals. We may have the British king James 1 to thank for the fact that we’ll be tucking into it on Christmas Day. It’s said that he opted to forgo what was then the traditional feast of swan in favour of turkey for Christmas dinner one year, starting a tradition that lives on to this day.
When preparing turkey mince, it's important to ensure that it is fully cooked through before eating as, similarly to chicken, it can contain dangerous bacteria. When the mince is cooked it will no longer be pink or translucent in colour. You can also use a thermometer to check that the mince has been fully cooked.
Looking for some recipe inspiration? Read on for some of our favourite recipes:
This recipe for turkey burgers with chanterelles and Gruyére cheese comes from the Currabinny cookbook by James Kavanagh and William Murray. We love the idea of combining mince with bacon, Worcestershire sauce and other ingredients to pack the dish full of flavour, as well as helping to make sure the burger doesn't dry out when cooked.
Claire Hanley's stuffed turkey meatballs have a distinctly Christmassy feel to them, but we think they're delicious at any time of the year. Try them out for your next dinner party – they make great canapés.
These Turkey and courgette koftas from eathos make a great lunch option as they're super healthy but full of flavour and very filling. Whip up a batch of these to have for your lunch throughout the week and you'll feel very smug about how virtuous yet tasty they are.