Once upon a time, my family ate turkey only on Thanksgiving. I loved it so much that I wished we had it more often. Now, with easy-to-cook cutlets and ground turkey always available, I cook turkey frequently and focus on finding delicious, seasonal sides and accompaniments.
Pairing pan-cooked turkey cutlets with kale and Swiss chard braised in cider is one of my favorite fall-winter combinations. Simmering greens gently in sweet cider along with apples and onions tenderizes them and adds pleasing sweetness. Cooking the greens in the same skillet, right after the turkey, also makes this a one-dish meal, even if it takes two steps.
Hearing about the health benefits of kale and other dark greens, people I meet are eager to try them but stumped about how. This video shows how to remove the tough stem and to chop the dense leaves. Next, I blanch kale and Swiss chard in lots of water, like cooking pasta, because it softens their assertive flavor and shortens the longish cooking time that turns off some people.
Curry powder or pimenton, Spanish smoked paprika, added to the greens gives them an interesting accent. So does cooking them in the liquid you get by adding water and scraping up the browned bits sticking to the pan after cooking the turkey cutlets.
Consider trimming and blanching an extra bunch of greens; they freeze well and will be ready to cook when defrosted.
Turkey Cutlets with Cider-Braised Greens
- 1/2 lb. Tuscan kale (pre-washed and cut may be substituted, remove stems)
- 1/2 lb. Swiss chard (pre-washed and cut may be substituted, remove stems)
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 turkey cutlets (about 1 lb.)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped red onion
- 1/2 Granny Smith apple, cored, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 cup sweet apple cider
- 1 tsp. curry powder or 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wash greens well. To remove tough kale stem, lay kale leaf on work surface, stem toward you. Run small, sharp knife down each side of stem, making inverted v-shaped cut. Lift out stem and discard. Stack leaves and cut crosswise into 1-inch strips. Then chop into 1-inch pieces. Repeat with chard, keeping piles of chopped chard and kale separate. There will be about 8 cups of each chopped greens.
In large pot of boiling water, cook kale for 6 minutes. Using large slotted spoon, transfer kale to large bowl filled with water and ice. Add chard to pot and cook for 2 minutes. Add wilted chard to bowl. When greens are cool enough to handle, drain in colander. A handful at a time, squeeze moisture from greens, leaving them in clumps. Slice clumps of greens, and then chop them coarsely.
In medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle turkey cutlets lightly with salt on one side. When oil shimmers, add cutlets to pan. Cook 4 minutes, until bottom of cutlets are browned in places. Turn and cook until cutlets no longer look raw in center, about 4 minutes. Transfer turkey to plate and cover loosely with foil. Add 3/4 cup water to pan. As liquid boils, scrape pan well, gathering up browned bits clinging to bottom. When liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup and rich brown in color, after 4-5 minutes, pour into cup and set aside. Rinse and wipe out pan.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add onion and cook until limp, 6 minutes. Add chopped apple and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in cider, reduced pot liquid and greens. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Remove cover and simmer 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until greens are tender enough to suit you and about 1/4 cup liquid remains in pan. Stir in curry powder or paprika and cook 1 minute longer.
To serve, divide cutlets among 4 dinner plates. Spoon greens alongside and pour remaining liquid over cutlets. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 288 calories, 9 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 22 g carbohydrate, 30 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 220 mg sodium.
Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $96 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.