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Barberries and Spice Make Everything Nice…A Ground Turkey Tale

If you ever want to try your hand with the cuisine of South Asia and the Middle East, Iqbal is your one stop shop for those hard to find ingredients. I purchased long grain Basmati rice for our Indian cooking class last week. This rice has a bit of a translucent look to it. It requires a good soak overnight. When cooked it is a longer grain than we Westerners are accustomed.

The leftover rice morsels and some just had to buy ingredients were my inspiration to create this dish. I tossed some barberries into my cart as I knew they are hard to find. Barberries are tiny tart berries. A bit like miniature cranberries but without the sweetness. They are a lovely unexpected taste of sour in this traditional Lebanese dish.

Instead of the conventional minced beef or lamb, I used lean ground turkey from Rowe Farms. What makes this dish extra special are the combinations of sweet and savoury ground spices: coriander seed, cumin seed, cinnamon, allspice, and fresh ground pepper. The dish is so flavourful with the tart berries, sweetness of the carrots, peas, bell pepper and the earthy spices, you really don’t need any additional salt.

It smells very fragrant around here. It’s hard to eat just one portion. So be sure to promptly put away the leftovers to curb any temptations of devouring the whole dish in one sitting. And that my friends would be the end of the story.

Middle Eastern Spiced Ground Turkey Stew with Vegetables (Bazella w riz ) Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 1 lb. ground turkey 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground ¼ teaspoon allspice, ground 1 teaspoon cumin, ground 1 teaspoon coriander seed, ground 1 large carrots, small dice 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth ½ cup red bell pepper, small dice 4 large mushrooms, sliced ½ cup frozen peas ¼ cup barberries, or unsweetened cranberries coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste Basmati rice, cooked

1. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. 2. Add the onion and cook until translucent. 3. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute, then add the turkey and cook, breaking up lumps for 4–5 minutes until browned. Add the spices and cook for 1 minute. 4. Add the vegetables and tomato paste. 5. Add the broth. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer and continue to cook until thickened. 6. Add the peas and cook for 2 minutes. Season to taste. 7. Serve over cooked Middle Eastern long basmati rice.

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