What do you feed 1,500 Jewish teen athletes from around the United States and the world for lunch that’s healthy, filling and appealing (as well as kosher)?
That’s the challenge the JCC of San Francisco is facing as it hosts the JCC Maccabi Games for six days beginning Sunday, Aug. 2. Organizers are planning bountiful salad and sandwich choices, fruit and desserts. Each day there will also be a hot selection, including a taco bar with all the trimmings.
The Maccabi taco bar menu inspired me to create my own version of a smoky, zippy (but not too hot), tomato-based chipotle turkey filling for tacos with some special toppings. It’s a winner for either lunch or dinner.
Chipotles, for those who don’t know, are smoked jalapeños. Buy the ones canned in adobo sauce, available in many supermarkets. You will need only one pepper for this recipe, but the rest will keep for months in the refrigerator (moved from the can into a more suitable container).
Smoked Chipotle Turkey Filling
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
11⁄2 cups chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1⁄4 tsp. ground cumin
1⁄2 tsp. paprika
15 oz. can of diced tomatoes, drained
15 oz. can of plain tomato sauce
1 chipotle pepper, chopped, plus 1 tsp. sauce from the chipotle can
3-inch piece of cinnamon stick
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
About 21⁄2 pounds poached turkey breast (see below), skinned, boned and shredded
Cooked carrots from poaching broth, chopped
1⁄4 cup of poaching broth or water
Toppings and garnishes
In large sauté pan, heat oil over medium high heat and add onion. Sauté until onion starts to color. Add garlic, sauté for a minute. Add cumin and paprika. Stir well. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chopped pepper with sauce and cinnamon stick. Mix well. Bring to a simmer. Cook on low for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove cinnamon. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add shredded turkey and carrots. Add broth. Mix well. Cook until turkey is heated through. Serve with roasted onions and tomatoes, pickled radishes and carrots, flour tortillas, rice, beans, shredded soy cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped cilantro, fresh salsa and other toppings and garnishes as desired.
Poached Turkey Breast
3 lbs. turkey breast, half on the bone
1 stalk of celery
2 medium carrots
1 small onion, peeled and halved
1 bay leaf
2 whole peeled garlic cloves
1 quart chicken stock
Place all non-liquids in large pot. Pour in chicken stock and add water to cover. Simmer, covered, until turkey is just cooked through to the bone, about 30 minutes.
Roasted Onions and Cherry Tomatoes
1 large white or red onion
2 cups cherry tomatoes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray two baking trays. Slice onion in half widthwise and then cut each half into thin slices. Place sliced onion on one greased baking tray, the tomatoes on the other. Spray vegetables with oil spray. Roast, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened and browned, about 30-40 minutes. Combine, mix well and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and blogger. Her columns alternate with those of Louise Fiszer. She blogs her food at www.clickblogappetit. blogspot.com. E-mail questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.