At Thanksgiving, everyone complains about the white-meat turkey. “So dry,” they lament. “So flavorless. No wonder we only eat this once a year.” But open your eyes, grasshopper. You are eating it the rest of the year.
Or, at least you are if you’re one of those well-meaning but misguided souls who cook with ground turkey breast.
It starts out innocently enough, as most insidious things do. You’re in a rush at the supermarket, ready to make your favorite chili recipe, so you grab a package of a familiar-looking package, filled with a rectangular length of extruded meat, and head for the express-lane checkout. It’s only when the onions are already sizzling in the pan and your paring knife has already slashed through the plastic packaging that the truth emerges. You’ve accidentally bought ground turkey breast instead of dark meat.
Maybe this isn’t a disaster for you. Maybe you even meant to do it. Turkey breast is healthier than the dark meat, right? Alas, no.
Thankfully, the reign of the low-fat, anti-saturated-fat diet appears to be at its end; researchers, nutritionists, and everyday eaters have all discovered that fat, in a moderate amount, makes you healthy, wealthy, and wise (or, you know, two out of those three). So the only possible justification for ground turkey breasts’ continued existence as a fixture on supermarket shelves is…flavor?
I’ll just let you take that in for just a second. In the immortal words of Agent Cooper, this world is a place both wonderful and strange.
Go ahead. Cook some ground turkey breast in a pan and watch what happens. Watch how it collapses from near-transparent pale pink into a slightly crumbly version of hard-cooked egg white, devoid of flavor. It’s so bland that it’s jealous of tofu.
Odds are, any recipe that calls for ground turkey breast can be redeemed by simply swapping in regular ground turkey in its place, as many Epi reviewers noted in their comments on the recipe below. Regular ground turkey includes both dark and white meat, and that dark meat is what helps the ground stuff actually taste like turkey—a slightly richer, more savory version of chicken. I can hear a turkey chili bubbling on the stove already.
So the next time you’re rushing at the supermarket, take a breath, open your eyes, and choose your ground turkey wisely. Or do what I do: Hope that one fine day those packages of pink cotton disappear from the meat aisle entirely.
Get this recipe: Turkey Meatloaf with Mushrooms and Herbs