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Ground turkey (or leftover turkey after the holidays!), local apples in season and onions (that we even pulled from the ground ourselves this year!) come together to make a savory, sweet meal that brings pleasure to eaters of every age. Choose either a spoon or a fork; enjoy a 1-pan breakfast or dinner — this is simple food, and delicious! Turkey, Apples and Onions Hash is a Paleo, AIP, GAPS Diet and Whole30 meal!
What’s the history of hash? Everything about it resonates with me! I love easy and frugal meals, both savory and sweet, made with what’s on hand, chopped small — all comfort things, wise and regular. The idea of chopping food small is always delicious, whether in a hash or in a chopped salad; the food just feels different in our mouths, cozy and accessible. It’s not surprising then that hash gets its name from the French word “hacher”, which means “to chop”. During and after World War 2, French and British cooks were short on meat, so they chopped it small and mixed it with potatoes, onions and spices.
That history feels ever-so-relevant in this day and age. While most of us don’t eat rations of meat, it can feel like it when you’re raising kids! and choosing the best meat you can find. Good quality meat is expensive and grain-free kids are HUNGRY often. Mixing in onions and apples is a beautiful, nightshade-free alternative to potatoes; and fresh ginger and sage are yummy (plus healthy). Of course hash is no longer frugal European fare; it’s served in high end restaurants the world over, because it’s simply lovable. (source)
Apples and Onions
I make this hash for my boys (9, 15 and my hubby!), and they LOVE it. The idea for apples and onions came from one of our favorite children’s books: Farmer Boy. If you haven’t read this yet, or have a little person you love, I highly recommend it as one of the best books ever written — truly, for child or adult. (Or here’s the whole set, one of our family treasures, tattered and well-loved from being read over and over again. This would make a wonderful gift.) The Farmer Boy book (and the whole series) contain a lot of great farm life history and some beautiful food-talk. The book is a biography, and the boy-hero of the tale has many favorite traditional foods, but his very favorite is his mother’s apples and onions. With one mention of that, many years ago, my family insisted I give a try. This version, with ground turkey, is an even bigger hit, perhaps because my boys can’t, it seems, put away enough meat! The dish is juicy, savory and sweet, and touched with subtle fresh ginger and sage. It’s simple, beautiful food for breakfast or dinner, depending on how your family rolls.
Recently Trader Joe’s started carrying Organic Ground Turkey — yip! I was quite pleased. While not pasture-raised, I’m not always finicky about every husbandry minutiae, because I, too, am busy and on a tight budget. Right now, for us, poultry is always organic, but not always pasture-raised. I am glad for the convenience, affordability and variety that organic ground turkey provides. It seems they have a hard time keeping it in stock, though, so check your Trader Joe’s the next time you’re in. I haven’t asked yet if it’s a seasonal item. I hope it’ll keep coming.
We do have a local market that also carries Shelton’s ground turkey thigh meat. The smell of ground turkey thigh cooking is a lot like the smell of turkey roasting — delicious.
You can definitely sub the turkey with another meat if you stick with solely pasture-raised (good!!) or for other reasons. Personally, I’d vote next for pork, lamb or wild game, because they all go beautifully with apples.
Leftover Turkey after the holidays?
This recipe CAN beautifully be adapted to leftover turkey, too. It becomes a simpler recipe — just see the Recipe Notes below for details and instructions on that variation.
Here’s the Hash! Enjoy!
- 1 pound ground turkey preferably organic or pasture-raised
- 2 apples cored and chopped
- 1 large onion or 2 small, diced
- 1 Tablespoon ginger root freshly grated
- 10 leaves fresh sage sliced thinly, or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1-1/4 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 cup traditional fat of choice: butter if not AIP/dairy-free, bacon fat, coconut oil etc.
Heat large cast iron skillet over high heat. When hot, add 2 tablespoons fat, then meat, then 1 teaspoon sea salt sprinkled on top.
(If using dried sage, add it now.) Cook meat, breaking it up in the pan until no pink remains, about 8-10 minutes. Remove meat to a bowl, and set aside.
Add 1-1/2 tablespoons fat to hot pan, keeping heat on high. Add onions and remaining 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Sauté about 10 minutes until softened and beginning to brown in places. (Reduce heat to medium-high if pan is too hot and onions are darkening too fast.)
Add apples and remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter. Sauté 10 minutes more.
Return meat to pan. Add fresh ginger. Cook 2 more minutes to heat through.
Remove from heat. Add fresh sage. Serve.
Here's the cast iron skillet I recommend. It's a great price for a great size and everyday use.
Leftover roast turkey? Sure, you can do that...! That's the true spirit and origin of hash recipes:
Simply skip Instruction Steps 1 and 2 in the recipe above. Have ready 2 cups (or more) chopped leftover roast turkey, and start with Step 3 above. When it's time to add in the cooked turkey, Step 5, just add your chopped leftover turkey and one additional tablespoon fat (bacon fat or butter, for example), and proceed with recipe.
Do you love the ease and comfort of hash for breakfast or dinner?