Middle Eastern Turkey Recipes

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The Middle East is home to a huge array of different cooking styles perfected over thousands of years. Among the many treats to be found among Middle Eastern cuisine are a host of really great turkey recipes. Here are a couple of good ones to try for yourself.

Turkey Tajine (Serves 4)

Tajine is a traditional North African dish, named for the special earthenware pot it’s normally cooked in. However, you can make it with nothing but a large saucepan so long as it has a heavy base and tight lid.

Divide 1.5kg/3lb of turkey into 12 pieces and place in the saucepan. After peeling 3 onions, finely chop two of them, while cutting the third into thin rings. Put the onion rings in the saucepan with the turkey and 50g/20z of butter. Add approximately 450ml/¾ pint of cold water to the turkey, so that it is just covered. Slowly bring the saucepan to the boil then put it on a low heat. Cover the pan and leave it to gently simmer for around half an hour.

At this point you add 1tsp of saffron powder and ½tsp of ground ginger and the finely chopped onions, along with 100g/4oz of stoned dates and 275g/10oz of broad beans. Stir well, replace the lid and leave to simmer for another half hour.

Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Remove the turkey from the saucepan and place it in a large serving or tajine dish. Sprinkle roughly chopped fresh coriander and parsley and add a few sprigs of parsley to garnish.

Spiced Rice Turkey Parcels (Serves 4)

These turkey parcels, stuffed with rice, spices and dried fruit and marinated in honey, are a great way to bring a taste of the Middle East to your dinner table!

Mix 1tbsp of vegetable oil with 2tbsp of runny honey, 1tbsp of curry powder and 2tbsp of lemon juice in a small bowl.

Being very careful, cut a small pocket into 4 boneless and skinless turkey breasts with a small, sharp knife. Place the turkey breasts in a dish and pour over the lemon juice and honey mixture. Turn the breasts in the mixture until they are coated. Set this dish to one side while you prepare the filling.

Dry-fry 2tbsp of pine nuts until golden, constantly stirring. Finely chop 50g/2oz of sultanas and 50g/2oz of no-soak dried apricots and put in a bowl with the pine nuts. Add 100g/4oz of cooked long grain rice, and pinches of allspice, cloves and cinnamon to the bowl. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Spoon the rice mixture into the turkey breasts and seal the pockets with cocktail sticks. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 5tbsp of vegetable oil and fry the stuffed turkey breasts for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until cooked through and golden. Serve immediately.

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