Thursday, April 14, 2011

Turkey Tacos in a Lettuce Shell…Tainting a Taco in a Good Way

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Let's Dig In!

Is it possible to take beef tacos in a hard tortilla shell and taint them in a good way? That's basically what I've tried to do with this dish. Now, you may or may not agree with my use of the word "tainted" in all of this but let me explain my line of thinking.

Let's say you take a healthy food like carrots and drown them in butter and brown sugar while preparing them. Even if they end up tasting awesome (which they probably will), by adding the fat and sugar wouldn't the carrots be tainted for the worse from a healthy eating perspective? While your pondering that….if you took a dish that isn’t the healthiest choice, like the usual beef tacos in a hard tortilla shell, and substituted in healthy ingredients for both the ground beef and tortilla shell would it become tainted for the better?

Ouch...that thinking is starting to hurt. Anyway, as for the Turkey Tacos they're very flavorful. They're also fun to eat because you have to try and keep everything from spilling out of the lettuce! My kids had a great time eating these! If anything, this recipe offers you an alternative way to serve and eat your tacos next time taco night rolls around!

Hip Cooking Tip
The first time I ever tried a dish similar to this was at P.F Chang’s in Salt Lake City, Utah. They added sliced jicama (pronounced hic-e-ma) in their version. It’s hard to find in my area so I haven’t used it here. Now that I think of it, bean sprouts would have worked as a good substitute to add that extra crunch! Toss some on if you have them.
If you don’t have or can’t find apple jam, you can use peach or apricot jam as a substitute.

Song Pairing Suggestion
All this tainted talk reminds me of the song “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell. Now I believe they were singing about tainting love in a bad way...not in a good way because if you take something good like love and taint it…ah forget it! Here's the recipe.

Turkey Tacos
Ground turkey, bell peppers and sweet pineapple in a lettuce shell

3 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp apple jam
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp each salt and red chili pepper flakes
1 tsp cornstarch
1 lb ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped red onion
1 green or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped 
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
Romaine lettuce leaves
Cilantro leaves (optional)

In a small bowl whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, jam, lemon juice, salt, chili flakes and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a large non-stick wok, cook ground turkey, garlic and onion over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until turkey is no longer pink and fully cooked through. Transfer to a bowl.

Add bell pepper to wok and cook and stir until pepper begins to soften, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add in cooked turkey, pineapple and sauce. Cook and stir to combine. Spoon mixture into lettuce leaves, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Volume: Makes 4 servings
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Brent Garell (@kitchenroadie)

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