So Trader Joe’s just bumped up a couple notches in awesomeness because I can buy turkey cutlets and turkey tenders. I always wanted to cook with turkey but most supermarkets either sell whole turkeys or ground turkey. I’m not nuts, nor do I have endless space in my fridge for a whole turkey (besides, I don’t want to cook a bird that’s about as big as a pterodactyl, who am I, Wilma Flinstone?), and I don’t want “each night to be Thanksgiving” for a week to get rid of a whole turkey. And with ground turkey – there’s only so many times that I’ll eat turkey burgers before I have enough.
So with the turkey stroganoff I have the best of all worlds – a lean, heart-healthy protein, and a great dinner that I enjoyed as a child. I had to doctor the recipe – I don’t use whole fat cream, so I found a fat-free sour cream at the market. I also cut that sour cream with Oikos plain yogurt, which gave the cream some body and texture. Because I forgot to get broth, I had to do with what I had in the house: V8 – it’s not great, and I wouldn’t use it again because it gave my stroganoff a tomatoey, Italian cream pasta taste, which wasn’t what I was going for. I also didn’t have enough egg noodles, so I used whole wheat penne, instead – again, the end result didn’t feel very Russian, so I hope to try this again. But my Favorite tried it and seemed happy, so I’m including it.
1 lb of lean turkey cutlets, cut into bite-sized strips
6 oz of mushrooms – I mixed white button with baby bellas
1/2 cup of chicken broth
1/2 cup of red wine or vermouth
1/4 cup of water
a pinch of nutmeg
2 tbl of your favorite mustard – I like anything with horseradish
a good handful of fresh parsley, chopped
6 oz of the pasta of your choice
This is going to be a one-skillet meal, so it’s great for a Tuesday night.
Find a heavy, nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Heat some olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil just starts to smoke, throw in the meat in two batches and brown – you’ll want to do this in batches so that your meat properly browns, otherwise, it’ll steam. It’s okay if the meat will steam, but there’s nice caramelization that happens if you let the meat brown up a bit. This shouldn’t take very long – 5, 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
Lower the heat to medium, add more oil if necessary and throw in the mushrooms and stir constantly, until the mushrooms release their liquid – this could take anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes. If you want to help the process along a little, you can add a pinch of salt – I don’t add salt to my cooking, so it’s closer to 10 minutes for me. Just keep stirring – the mushrooms will get smaller and darker in size, and get slippery and shiny and there will be some liquid on the bottom of the pan – though not much because the high heat of the pan will instantly evaporate the liquid.
Once the mushrooms have cooked down for about 8 to 10 minutes, add your broth and wine and stir constantly, breaking up any browned bits on the bottom of your pan – there won’t be much because you’re using a nonstick, but there will be some light fond. Add the meat and the accumulated juices and cook for another 5, 10 minutes, raising the heat to bring it all to a boil.
Once it boils lower the heat to medium-low and throw in the pasta and water and stir. Cover and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. While it simmers, you’ll do your cream bit. In a large mug, mix the yogurt, sour cream, mustard and nutmeg and stir well until it’s perfectly blended. Add some water if it’s too thick – you’ll want the consistency of melted ice cream. After ten minutes check on the meat – it should be cooked. If the mixture is too thick and dry, add more water – a tiny bit at a time, and add the sour cream mixture and mix immediately to avoid separating or curdling. Keep mixing and the cream will thin out considerably but keep mixing, raising the heat to medium-high to allow for it all to boil again. Keep mixing because you don’t want it to burn or stick to the bottom of the pan. Keep some broth handy in case it gets too dry. You’ll want to cook this carefully for another 10 minutes to get the pasta done.
Once the pasta is done remove the pan from heat and sprinkle some parsley and grind some fresh pepper over the whole thing. Serve warm with a side salad and a nice, crusty loaf of bread (to sop up any gravy). Oh, and enjoy.