Food & Drink

Fire up the grill and make turkey kefta kebabs

Turkey kefte wrapped in turkey bacon are served with garlicky potatoes and corn on the cob on Friday, June 26, 2020.  (R
Turkey kefte wrapped in turkey bacon are served with garlicky potatoes and corn on the cob on Friday, June 26, 2020. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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Oh the joys of summer. Cities are semi opening up. You hear all the sounds of summer: The buzz of your neighbor’s lawn mower, children laughing as they ride bikes and run up and down the block and the dreaded motorcycle chopping up the stillness of the summer’s muggy, thick heat. Birds are chirping, construction work is ongoing and the list can go on. But enough of the sounds of summer. We’re here for the tastes and smells of summer with today’s recipe, which is my spin on kefta: Grilled Turkey Kefta wrapped in Turkey Bacon with Yukon Gold potatoes and Sweet Corn.

I made the decision to stop eating beef and pork recently, but I still love a good burger with bacon, so I tried my hand at turkey burgers on the grill. I added a stick because I had a little of the mixture left that wasn’t quite enough for a burger but too much to just toss out. I found some skewers and tah dah — the birth of my version of grilled turkey kefta wrapped in turkey bacon. I added the Yukon Gold potatoes and sweet corn and voila! A delicious meal that can be made ahead of time.

The versatility of this meal is off charts. There are so many flavors, meats and vegetables that can work. I’m sure if you tried, these kefta — the Moroccan Arabic term for ground meat or minced meat, with or without classic Moroccan seasoning — could be made with vegan/vegetarian/pescatarian ingredients. There are so many sauces that can be paired with this version of grilled kefta. You can try a lamb kefta with Greek yogurt and pita bread. You also can do a ground beef version or even pork. The options are almost endless.

What combination of ingredients will you try? Honey pork with grilled pineapple over jasmine rice? Ground beef with chopped onion and bell pepper on a brioche hot dog bun and sweet potato waffle fries?

Definitely try this Grilled Turkey wrapped in Turkey Bacon with Yukon Gold potato wedges and sweet corn on the cob. I drizzled the one I prepared for this article with jerk sauce that I bought from Nelson’s Meat Market in Cedar Rapids. It was a nice sweet heat that paired well with the ground turkey kefta. Whatever version you decide to make, just be sure to add love and enjoy.

July is great for grilling, so enjoy summer festivities with your own culinary art. Let’s roll up those sleeves and wash those hands to get started on your very own Grilled Turkey Kefta wrapped in Turkey Bacon.

Reach Michelle Madden at Da Munchie Plug LLC on Facebook.

Golden Yukon Potatoes and Sweet Corn

4 ears of sweet corn halved

8 yellow Yukon Gold potatoes cut into wedges

1/2 stick of salted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons whole milk

In a large pot fill it half way with water add in your salt and pepper, butter, milk, corn and potatoes wedges. Boil on medium high heat until potatoes are fork tender about 20 to 30 minutes.

Grilled Turkey Kefta

Make ahead: Turkey mixture can be made up to 1 to 3 days ahead; keep chilled or keep in freezer.

1 bag of frozen spinach equal to one half cup

1 egg (beaten)

1/2 cups breadcrumbs

1/2 cups grated Italian cheese blend

8 strips of turkey bacon (I prefer the minced dark meat option)

Salt, pepper (to taste)

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for grill

Wooden skewers (soak in water first to prevent stick from burning up)

Optional: Lemon wedges, warm pita, Greek yogurt

For Kefta: Drain frozen bag of spinach that’s been thawed. Be sure to squeeze all the liquid out because it will cause the meat to crumble and not be able to remain on the stick. Add in Italian cheese blend and Italian breadcrumbs. Transfer mixture to a large bowl, add turkey, seasonings and egg using your hands, gently mix together until evenly combined. Chill mixture at least 1 hour. Then take your meat and form 8 meat balls, slide the skewer (soak in water first to prevent your stick from burning up) through the center and squeeze the meat to form around the skewer.

Prepare grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grill grates. Divide ground turkey mixture into 8 portions. Form each portion into a 5-inch long sausage shape. Insert a wooden skewer or metal skewer lengthwise through each portion. Drizzle with oil and grill, turning occasionally (I prefer using a grill spatula to flip them because they will fall off the stick if they aren’t cooked) until just cooked through (do not overcook or the kefta will be dry), 4 to 5 minutes on each side for a total of 8 to 10 minutes grilling time.

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