Let’s take a stroll to see what’s going on in the garden, shall we?
We have had a busy weekend filled with traveling: Alex’s younger sister’s college graduation and visiting my parents for Mother’s Day. On those busy kinds of weekends filled with rich foods, it’s nice to make something healthy and comforting that fits in one bowl that can be eaten while curled up on the couch. That’s why I made this turkey lentil pilaf today. The somewhat surprising key ingredients? Cinnamon and fresh mint.
Turkey Lentil Pilaf (adapted from Simply in Season by Cathleen Hockman-Wert and Mary Beth Lind)
Yum Factor: Alex – 7.8, Jessalyn – 7
– 1 pound ground turkey thigh
1. Cook in large skillet over medium heat until cooked though. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
– 1/2 onion, chopped
– 3 garlic cloves, minced
2. Add to turkey and stir, cooking until softened (about 5 minutes).
– handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
– 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3. Add to turkey/onion mixture and stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
– 1 cup lentils, rinsed and drained (I used French green lentils, I think)
– 3/4 cup brown rice
– 2 cups chicken broth
– 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
4. Add to pot. Stir thoroughly and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer until the rice is cooked through, about 45 minutes. I recommend lifting the lid and stirring everything about after 20 or 30 minutes to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Serve warm with choice of garnish.
Overall, we really enjoyed this dish. It seemed to rejuvenate us after a long weekend and perhaps somewhat contributed to our ability to accomplish a few chores around the house. It sort of had the consistency of a pot of chili, and was certainly as hearty. To that end, if the cinnamon flavor confuses you or you don’t have any mint around, I think you could substitute parsley and your favorite chili powder for a more familiar flavor. You might also save time by using leftover poultry (doesn’t have to be turkey) and pre-cooked rice that you just fold in at the end of the cooking time.
Certainly, too, you could adapt this recipe for all seasons; this version is particularly suited to spring because of the mint.
I know we usually talk about comfort foods in winter, but what do you turn to for comfort in the spring? (doesn’t have to be food–maybe it’s something you like to do outdoors? or a certain smell? or a poem or TV show perhaps?) What adaptations might you make to this recipe to make it your own? Give it a try and let us know what you think.