Thursday, March 6, 2014

Slow Cooker Week: Ground Turkey and Chipotle Taco Filling

Day 4 of Slow Cooker Week and I can't wait to share this recipe with you.  By now you all know that I could live on Mexican food alone, it's a weakenss.  So this is a mix of two of my favorite things; Mexican food and the handy dandy slow cooker. 
America's test kitchen has always impressed me with their endless amounts of knowledge, tips, tricks and flawlessly executed recipes.  I love that they test recipes until they are perfect, and then along with sharing the recipes they share why they work.  I love all their cookbooks, and lately I've been infatuated with their slow cooker ones.  They have proven that there are no limits when it comes to what you can make in your slow cooker.  What tool some people may have once limited to soups, stews and big cuts of meat has now been proven to be  tool to cook appetizers, desserts, casseroles, and fillings.
In their cookbooks dedicated to slow cooking, not only are all the recipes prepared in the slow cooker but they also focus on ease of preparation.  They focus on quick prep, that requires little to no pre-cooking or sautéing.  If there is a little pre-cook preparation they have perfected the are of using the microwave, so do you don't have to worry about turning the stove on and bringing out pots and pans.
This fillings utilizes those quick preparation tips; like heating the onions and seasonings in the microwave to tenderize the vegetables before adding them to the slow cooker.  Once the onions are tender the mixture is added to the slow cooker and is combined with the meat and remaining spices.  It's cooked until the meat is cooked through and then green onions, cilantro and lime is added to the mixture.

This filling has an amazing flavor.  It's got a little kick from the chipotle in adobo, some sweetness from the brown sugar, acidity from the tomatoes, brightness from the cilantro and lime juice.  From there the filling can be used in burritos, tacos or even a Mexican inspired casserole.  It makes a lot which means there will be plenty to use as well as freeze for later use.  So the next time you're craving Mexican, make a batch of this filling and enjoy. 

Ground Turkey and Chipotle Taco Filling

2 Yellow onions, minced
1/4 Cup chili powder
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
8 Cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp minced (canned) chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 Tsp dried oregano
1 (8oz) Can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Slices good quality sandwich bread, roughly torn
1/4 Cup milk (I used 2%)
2 Pounds ground turkey
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 Cup minced fresh cilantro
3 Scallions, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice


Combine onions, chili powder, oil, garlic, chipotles and oregano in a microwave safe bowl and stir to combine.  Place in the microwave and heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender.  Transfer to the slow cooker and add tomato sauce and sugar and stir to combine.

In a medium bowl combine the milk and bread and using a fork, mash together to form a paste.  Using hands, mix in the ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Add the turkey mixture to the slow cooker, and break up any large pieces of the turkey, being sure not to over mix.  Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook until the turkey is tender, about 4-6 hours on low.

Once the turkey is cooked through allow the filling to settle for about 5 minutes, then skim any fat from the surface using a large spoon.  Break up any large pieces of turkey with a spoon.  Add cilantro, scallions and lime juice and stir to combine.  Taste, adjust seasonings if needed.

This filling will refrigerate for up to 3 days or can be frozen for up to one month.

This is terrific in tacos, burritos, over nachos, or even in Mexican Lasagna (recipe to come soon)!

Recipe source: slightly adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution

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