Let’s talk turkey.
I know – Thanksgiving is over. BUT the holiday season is still here AND turkey is a great ingredient year round, so you really can’t go wrong.
As much as I love cooking new dishes with turkey during the year, I still think my favorite way to eat turkey is using some of the leftovers from Thanksgiving or Christmas, or anytime you have extra from a full bird.
This year, instead of roasting the turkey, Nick and his dad grilled it, which is basically the best way to eat turkey. There’s the slightest bit of smoke flavor and it is insanely juicy.
Lucky for us, we had Thanksgiving at our house, so we ended up with all the leftovers.
And what better way to re-purpose turkey than in a big pot of turkey and dumplings?
And not just any turkey and dumplings. This turkey is smothered in a green chile and cilantro studded sauce and topped with green onion and cornmeal dumplings. Delicious multiplied.
Just enough spice, a little sweetness from the cornmeal, and perfectly creamy and comforting. I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty much what I want on a cold winter night.
I also wanted to share about my recent visit to a turkey farm right here in Virginia!
About a month ago, a group of bloggers had the chance to visit a farm owned by Glenn Rodes and his family. They raise about 280,000 turkeys each year. Crazy, right? And that’s just one farm!
Their birds go to Cargill for their Shady Brook Farms’ line, but the farm is very much owned by the family. Glenn’s brother owns a dairy farm next door and the family is invested in harvesting other crops for nearby farmers. Even with everything they have going on, the farm has no non-family employees – it truly is a family operation. They have biofuels happening, make soaps…all kinds of things!
On top of caring for the land and animals, Glenn has an interest in alternative fuel sources. He has equipment to help produce biodiesel from crops that they grow on their own land. Glenn even has his own YouTube channel where he shows things happening on the farm.
Before we toured the farm, the team there shared a big announcement with us.
Cargill has worked with their Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms turkey farmers to end the use of all growth promoting antibiotics. Some of their farms have already stopped them, and in 2015, the rest of their farms will join in. This is exciting news!
Cargill is taking the initiative early on this move, but the FDA is also taking steps to phase out the use of growth promoting antibiotics that have use in human medicine by 2016.
And here’s something else I learned, which isn’t really explained well to most consumers.
You know how you see all the labels in the grocery store touting that their poultry is “hormone free”? Well, that’s true of every turkey and chicken because using hormones in poultry is illegal in this country. So, while it is good that it’s being made known, it’s a complete marketing ploy because NO ONE can give poultry hormones, period.
I’m really excited that they’re doing away with growth-promoting antibiotics, but the farms are not going completely antibiotic free. Farmers will still use antibiotics when they have sick animals but just like they’ve always done, any birds that are treated with antibiotics (for illness) won’t be sold for food until they have passed the set withdrawal time for the medicine to get out of their systems.
In my perfect world, I would have a huge farm with my own animals, all raised right in my yard and used to sustain our family. And while that option still very much exists for many people, that model cannot feed the world right now. Our demand for food – meat, in particular – is so incredibly high in this country that efficiency and health are some of the most important things to consider, not to mention reducing food waste overall. I was so happy to hear this announcement and see the farm working, doing everything it can to raise healthy food.
And what about a price hike thanks to this change? Not an issue! The Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms turkeys you find in the store will not be going up in cost – at all – from this change in farming practices. The company is committed to keeping their products affordable for everyone, regardless of the practices they change on the farm.
I’m so glad that Cargill has decided to be proactive on this front. It was also incredibly refreshing to see a large and profitable family farm working in a variety of ways to help produce food and products not only for their own family, but for mine and yours. They are being responsible and innovative with what they have and working daily to improve processes and technologies to pass on to the consumers.
I am all for improving the health and well-being of our food industry, and even more supportive of family farms around the country and world.
Green Chile Cilantro Turkey and Dumplings
Think you know your dumplings? Think again! This mix has a little bit of everything: spice from the chiles, sweetness from the cornmeal, and a perfect balance of creamy sauce to doughy dumplings.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 celery ribs, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 4 oz. diced green chiles
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2/3 cup flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups milk
- 3 cups cooked, diced turkey
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
For the dumplings:
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup green onions, sliced
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- For the sauce: Heat the oil in a large oven safe dish. Add the celery and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes until they're beginning to soften. Add in the green chiles. Stir in the butter and let it melt in with the vegetables. Sprinkle in the flour and stir together until all the vegetables are coated. Add the chicken broth, milk, salt, and pepper and bring the mixture up to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the turkey and cilantro and turn heat to low.
- For the dumplings: In a medium bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt together. Cut the cold butter into cubes and work it into the flour mixture with your hands. You want the larger chunks of butter broken up all through the flour mix until it looks like crumbs. Stir in the green onions and buttermilk.
- Drop spoonfuls of dough onto the top of the sauce in the pan.
- Place pan in the oven and bake at 400 for 18-22 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the tops of the dumplings are set and golden.
A big thanks to Cargill and Crossroads for providing travel to and from the farm. This recipe and post was sponsored by Crossroads/Cargill, but – as always – all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support us!