Tuesday, October 27, 2009

fragrant spinach and turkey

Nigel Slater's distinctive handwriting adorns the top of my new cookbook: The 30-Minute Cook: The Best of the World's Quick Cooking. I was so happy to receive it as a gift from Sonya for my birthday: Nigel is my new favourite, friendly writer. I was watching him on TV recently. "I'm a cook, not a chef," he says. This cookbook is full of practical ideas for the home cook. I can't wait to try out loads of them, like Turkish Carrots (with mint and yoghurt).

The first small green sticky note landed on a recipe for fragrant spinach. I adapted the side dish recipe by adding onions and turkey pieces and served it as a main with bulgur wheat. As always, the current contents of the fridge meant that a few substitutions had to be made. And a hungry husband with a love of non-vegetarian food is my other eater, so he had to be satisfied.

The recipe includes a technique which is new for me. At the very end of the recipe, Nigel directed me to melt some butter in a pan and add garam masala for a short time, until it foamed (as pictured below). Then I poured this onto the main part of the dish. This adds a deep, nutty spice to the earthy spinach.

Fragrant Spinach with Turkey
adapted from The 30-Minute Cook
serves 2

1 onion, thinly sliced
1 T olive oil
1 turkey or chicken breast, diced
4 large double handfuls of spinach (about 400 g), washed, and sliced if large
1/2 t harissa paste
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t mustard powder
1/2 t fennel seeds
2 T butter
1/2 t garam masala
juice of 1 lemon

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and gently sautee the onions.
Add the diced turkey or chicken and cook until it is no loner pink.
Meanwhile, boil a pan of water and plunge the spinach into the pan for 30 seconds. Drain.
Add the harissa paste, cumin, mustard, and fennel to the onions and turkey. Cook until their fragrance rises and then add the spinach. Cook for a minute.
In another pan, melt the butter over low heat and add the garam masala. Let it foam. Pour the foaming butter over the spinach mixture. Top with a squeeze of lemon juice to serve.


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