I have an aunt who basically conducts pantry magic. You can say to her you are coming in the evening for tea and she will create remarkable dishes without leaving her house the way that only a genius cook can. It is an ability that has always amazed me as I diligently write down every single instruction for every single recipe. When I was envisioning this Spiced Turkey Wreath recipe I knew what base to start with – Namak-LaalMirch-Adrak-Lehsan (obviously), but from there on I was a little stuck so in true desi daughter fashion I called my mother. My mother (as expected) told me to marinate the turkey pieces in Namak-LaalMirch-Adrak-Lehsan and a little yoghurt, saute with a little onion, cook till tender and then add a certain cheese. In the spirit of pantry cooking I decided to switch it out with cream cheese and love what it did in terms of adding both body and flavour.
My mother btw was not impressed by my unwillingness to do a store run.
This recipe has made me think a lot about our Pakistani Palates, palates that are not strictly confined to ‘traditional’ foods, but also palates that love Chinese Hakka food with the same intensity as a meaty spicy lasagna that would appal an Italian grandmother. When I grew up in the Middle East my mother brought that attitude to a lot of her cooking, instilling a lifelong love of a béchamel resplendent with onions and green chillies, a Shephard’s Pie void of veggies, and anything cheesy with anything spicy. This Spiced Turkey Wreath is my homage to that tradition of adaptation. The base represents the Quadfecta of Pakistani cooking, the cream cheese the transformation of tastes, the Turkey a protein we started eating in Canada. Oh and puff pastry – well, that stuff is just an amazing base for all this goodness.
For this recipe I used boneless skinless Turkey thighs. While cleaning them was a bit of work it was well worth it because the darker meat was flavorful and tender and didn’t become dry. You can certainly substitute Turkey breast meat here as well. We have recently started eating more Turkey and I was talking to another blogger earlier about just how much the kids seem to have taken to it. Since it is a lean meat that’s a protein decision any mama can get behind. Makes me feel less guilty about the Holiday time treats they’re getting too!
This recipe for Spiced Turkey Wreath makes two wreaths or rings. You can serve it at your next Christmas party, at chai time, as part of a Holiday lunch menu or just because it is tasty. If you wish to make one simply halve the recipe. The rings also reheat well, just pop in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 325 degrees F.
Spiced Turkey Wreath
For the Turkey Marinade:
- Marinated Turkey (above) above
- ½ a cup diced onion
- 1.5 tsp cornstarch
- 2 oz cream cheese
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 minced green chillies
- ¼ cup finely chopped red pepper
- Fat pinches of coarsely ground pepper
To Fill & Bake:
- 2 sheets all butter puff pastry
- 1 egg whisked with a tbsp. of water
- Sesame seeds to sprinkle over top optional
- Marinade the turkey with all the marinade ingredients for at least two hours.
- When ready to cook pull it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature
- Saute the diced onion in a little oil and add the turkey pieces, sauté for 2 minutes
- Simmer covered with a splash of water until super tender, about 20 minutes. If the turkey starts to stick of burn during the cooking process add a little water.
- When tender add a tsp of cornstarch and cook on medium heat for a minute
- Now add in the remaining ingredients and mix till well combined. Taste, adjust seasoning. Let cool completely.
To make the wreath shape:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cut the puff pastry into 6 even strips. Divide them horizontally across the middle to halve the original 6 and create 12 strips. Lay the strips in a slightly overlapping circular fashion – they will look like a flower.
- Divide half the filling among each strip then ‘close’ the puff pastry strips at a diagonal. Repeat till all the strips are closed and you have a pretty wreath.
- Brush each ring well with the egg wash, scatter over your sesame seeds and bake for 25-30 minutes until evenly golden brown.
Disclaimer: this post is sponsored by Canadian Turkey and I am being compensated for it. The opinions as always are my own.