Hammered Turkey with Rainbow Chard and Mushrooms

Hammered Turkey with Rainbow Chard and Mushrooms (Serves 4)

I developed an entire career from something I learned incidentally in 1995, so incidental learning is important to me. Pounding chicken flat and thin with a meat hammer before sautéing it quickly in a hot skillet is a cooking technique we practiced in a basic knife skills class offered by the Salud Cooking School of Harry’s Farmer’s Market. The use of a meat hammer was incidental to learning how to use a knife properly, but hammering meat is the key to enjoying Hammered Turkey with Rainbow Chard and Mushrooms in less than 30 minutes.

A meat hammer is nice, but you can use a small skillet to pound meat flat too. The trick is to put your chicken, turkey, or pork inside a one gallon plastic freezer bag to help prevent tearing holes in the meat when you pound it. Lay the bagged meat flat on your cutting board on a stable surface and smack it until it is somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thin. Thin meat cooks through fast and does not dry out.

Prep and cook time: 25-30 minutes


4 boneless, skinless turkey breasts, pounded thin
1 bunch of rainbow chard, rinsed and sliced
8 ounces of mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
Apple cider vinegar
Coconut flour
Coconut oil
Garlic powder
Dried thyme
Black pepper

Directions: Place about 3 tablespoons of coconut flour in a shallow plate and season with salt and pepper. Season both sides of the turkey with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Coat the seasoned turkey on both sides with the seasoned flour, shake off the excess, and lay the turkey in the hot skillet to cook between 1 and 2 minutes per side until golden brown. Sauté just a few pieces at a time to avoid crowding the skillet and melt in more coconut oil as needed to keep the skillet slick. Transfer meat to a plate and stick it in the microwave to keep warm while you prepare the rest of the meal. Reduce the heat to medium. Add about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup of water to the hot skillet. Use a wooden spatula to loosen browned bits from the bottom and then add the sliced mushrooms. Season the mushrooms with a generous dusting of dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Add the chard leaves sliced into 1 to 1.5 inch strips to wilt. Season the chard with a light dusting of salt and garlic powder. The mushrooms need to cook about 5 to 7 minutes. The chard should be wilted down by then. When ready, transfer the mushrooms and chard to a plate with a slotted spoon. Lay a piece of hammered turkey across the vegetables. Enjoy!

Notes: In class we made Escalope de Poulet aux Champignons (Thin Piece of Chicken with Mushrooms) under the direction of Chef Samantha Enzmann of the Mercantile in Candler Park. Inspired by the experience, I switched from chicken to turkey, and made a strict Paleo version by replacing her white wine with apple cider vinegar and water and used coconut oil and flour in place of more traditional ingredients. To add a touch of green and bulk up the veggies on the plate I included Rainbow chard too.

What did I learn in 1995 that ultimately developed into a new career? I successfully modified the login script to get on the internet with a Windows 95 computer. My internet service provider was so impressed they offered me a full time job in tech support. I wasn’t ready then, but a few years later when I became burned out as a psychotherapist and needed to do something different with my life, I did become a computer network engineer.

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