Serving Up the Hottest Food Trend with a Turkey Twist

The National Turkey Federation Convention is a great time to showcase how good turkey tastes in so many different cuisines. In 2014 Aviagen Turkeys started a tradition when we asked the hotel chef if he could develop a menu featuring turkey in recipes from around the world.  It was so successful that we've made it an annual event.  Each year we come up with a theme and work with the chef to develop a menu.

The chefs seem genuinely excited to get to try something new and this year was no exception.  Chef Norm at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort eagerly took on the challenge of using turkey in one of today’s hottest food trends – Mediterranean Cuisine. He was particularly excited and a little nervous because he was using some recipes from the mother of Dr. Jihad Douglas, president. Take a look at the this year’s menu:

Kibbeh – In Arabic, Kibbeh means ball. This traditional Lebanese dish consists of a dough made of meat, bulgur (cracked wheat), onions and mint leaves which is formed into ball shaped croquettes. They’re filled with more meat, onions, pine nuts and Middle Eastern spices then deep fried to perfection so they are crisp on the outside and soft inside! Using ground turkey, this dish was a crowd favorite served with yogurt garlic sauce.

Kafta – Another Lebanese dish where seasoned ground meat is molded on a skewer so that it can be grilled. For the reception, Chef Norm and his team used ground turkey and cooked the kafta on a flat top indoor grill, serving it with tabbouleh.

Brewat Rolls – In this Moroccan dish similar to an egg roll, Chef Norm used seasoned ground turkey for the filling. After frying up the rolls until golden they’re sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar making them a sweet and savory crispy treat.

Shawarma – Many guests remember this dish from the convention in Tucson when a traditional vertical grill was used to cook the marinated and stacked turkey breast filets. The meat is carefully shaved off as the outside cooks and served in a pita with tomato, cucumber tahini, hummus and tzatziki. It’s similar to a Greek Gyro. This year Chef Norm used the sous-vide method to cook turkey thigh meat for the shawarma. This slow cooking process involves placing the meat in a vacuum-sealed plastic pouch then cooking it in a temperature controlled water bath. This maintained the flavor, moisture and tenderness of the turkey which was then finished off on the indoor flat grill before serving with the traditional pita fillings.

Rounding out the menu were an Armenian Pizza, a flatbread topped with mildly seasoned ground turkey and tomato, and Paella with turkey sausage and mushrooms for a different take on this classic rice dish.

Aviagen Turkeys is proud to be a part of an industry that produces such a healthy, delicious protein choice for consumers around the world. We’re happy to work with the local chefs to develop menus that really showcase what turkey has to offer. We can’t wait to see what the team in San Diego comes up with for the 2018 NTF Convention.