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A time when getting skewered is a good thing

March may be coming in like a lamb… or even a turkey, but I can’t promise how it will end yet.

Food always looks better when served on a skewer.

The Middle East has kebobs, Greece has souvlaki, Indonesia has satay and Japan has “yakitori”

Yakitori is typically made from chicken and not yak meat as the name suggests, as the term “Yaki” in Japanese essentially means grill, and the best way to grill is on a skewer of some kind.

The premise is the same throughout many cultures from a cooking stand point, differences would be in flavouring/seasoning and possibly sizes and shapes or cuts of meat.

The yakitori is usually done over charcoal burner as it creates no residual moisture the meat can really brown well and create a nice crust on the outside. It is typically made salty or sweet and salty as this version is.

A different spin on this idea is to use ground turkey instead of meat cut in chunks. One could use ground chicken, of course, but I find the turkey retains moisture better. Threading a skewer with a rolled piece of ground meat is a little tricky – a good trick is to use two skewers, side by each, like a popsicle, giving it a little more strength.

As it is more fall-apar-ty (is that not a word?) than cubes of meat, it is much easier to cook on a tray in the broiler and then easier to turn, and might be more weather friendly this time of year.

Of course, it will taste great on a BBQ, even if it’s gas-based. What I would highly recommend is to place skewers on a perforated pan such as a pizza  tray before placing on the grill. This will still allow it to caramelize over the direct heat but hopefully avoid the great human tragedy of having your dinner fall  through the slats and into the burning embers below!

Turkey Yakitori

Recipe by Chef Duff

A different spin on this idea is to use ground turkey instead of meat cut in chunks. One could use ground chicken, of course, but I find the turkey retains moisture better. Threading a skewer with a rolled piece of ground meat is a little tricky – a good trick is to use two skewers, side by each, like a popsicle, giving it a little more strength.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb ground turkey

  • 1 cup minced scallions

  • 2 Tbsp. miso or soybean paste

  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil

  • 2 cups chicken stock (no salt)

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup sherry

  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar

  • 1 tsp. black pepper

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 bunch scallions

  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger

  • Skewers

Directions

  • Combine turkey with oil, miso and scallions and mix into a paste.
  • Chill for 20 minutes.
  • Roll out with a little oil on hands to long cylinder and insert skewer.
  • To make sauce combine everything from chicken stock downwards, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and reduce by half which will form a glaze.
  • Cook over grill whilst brushing with sauce.

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