Smoked Turkey Curry with Grilled Butternut Squash and Black Garlic Meatballs

Smoked Turkey Curry with Grilled Butternut Squash and Black Garlic Meatballs

Erick had just returned to the Vail Valley from Japan. Tucked away in his bag was black garlic, delicious fermented cured garlic, and so believe it or not that was one of the reasons for making the dish along with a new cookbook Erick picked up at in Edwards at the Bookworm, Asian American by Dan Halde.

Veggies to grill

1 small butternut squash, seeded, peeled and sliced

1 eggplant, quartered

Untoasted sesame oil

Veggies and meaties to curry

2 tablespoons butter or sesame oil

12 large mushrooms, sliced

1 onion, thin-sliced

Fresh ginger, 2 inch minced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 inch fresh turmeric, minced

2 stalks lemongrass, bruised and thrown in

1 leg smoked turkey – meat sliced off, maybe 3 cups total

2 qts chicken stock (1 low sodium, 1 regular)

2 tablespoons red curry paste

Meaties to grill

1 pound each ground pork and turkey

1 egg

Fresh ginger, 2 inch minced

4 garlic cloves, minced

Fresh turmeric, minced

3-4 cloves black garlic, minced

Coconut grits with butter fried onions and sambal (slightly adapted from the book Asian American by Dan Halde)

1 tablespoon butter

½ onion minced

and then: 

½ bag grits/polenta

2 ½ cups of regular milk

1 can coconut milk

2 tsp salt

2 tablespoons sambal

½ cup hot water

Pickle the shallots

2 shallots, sliced thin

1 ½ c rice vinegar

1 tsp chile garlic paste

1 tsp fish sauce

2 tablespoons sugar


Slice shallots and set aside. In a small saucepan heat the rice vinegar with the sugar, just till melted, do not boil. Add remaining seasonings and taste, adjust if necessary.

Slice the butternut squash and the eggplant. Drizzle with a bit of untoasted sesame oil. Set aside in a grilling basket set on a sheet pan.

Start the curry

Mince all the ginger, garlic and turmeric that you’ll need for both the curry and the meatballs and set aside in different bowls. Bruise the lemon grass stalk with your knife and throw that in the bowl with your minced garlic, ginger, and turmeric for the curry. Slice the mushrooms and the onions and throw those in the bowl too. Slice the meat off of the smoked turkey leg, and slice into bite size pieces. When ready to cook heat a large heavy soup pot on medium high on the stove. When hot add the sesame oil/butter and when this is sizzling add the bowl of onions, mushrooms, and minced garlic ginger and turmeric along with the lemongrass. Stir with a wooden spoon and give it some time. Let the onions get translucent, while the ginger, garlic, and turmeric perfume the air. Let this go a little farther and gain some color, caramelizing, and then deglaze with the chicken stock. Stir well and add in your red curry paste, and stir well again. When thoroughly incorporated add in the smoked turkey meat and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let simmer for about 40 minutes.  Taste for seasoning, and adjust with salt and pepper or more curry paste.

Grill the eggplant and squash

Heat your grill till fire-y hot.

Make the meatball mix

Add your ground pork and turkey to the bowl with ginger, garlic, and turmeric. Mince the black garlic and add that as well, crack an egg over the top, and then combine it all together with your hands. Once well mixed; form meatballs or slightly flattened into patties if you prefer. Grill over high heat while you grill the eggplant and squash. Set aside on a platter.

Lastly, make the grits

Combine the milk, coconut milk, and 2 tsp salt in a small pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the grits about a quarter at a time, stirring constantly. Bring back to a boil and stirring and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook stirring almost constantly or only occasionally if you prefer less creamy grits. To cook completely this will take 15-20 minutes. Add sambal

And season to taste. Covered, the grits will stay warm for about 30 minutes.

Now the moment you’ve waited for. Bowl up. First spoon in some of the warm grits, then ladle the smoked turkey curry over, placing some grilled meaties and veggies on top, garnish with the pickled shallots, fresh cilantro and sprinkle with a few sesame seeds.