what’s cooking wednesday: turkey with sauteed peppers & onions

Before we get to this week’s What’s Cooking Wednesday, a little background.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but for Thanksgiving last year, P got three turkeys to raise ourselves so we’d be assured of a good bird come Turkey Day. For those who don’t know, turkey isn’t commonly found in Italian butchershops, and although it can be specially ordered, you often end up with a truly enormous bird (just ask Cyndi if you don’t believe me).

Well just before that fateful Thursday, a fox got in and snatched one of our birds. So with only a female and male left, we let them be and ate chicken instead. Then another turkey was snatched, and P just let the other one get all big and meaty, figuring we might as well get our euros’ worth once slaughter time came.

So a couple months ago, when P got around to killing and cleaning our last surviving turkey, he put half of its enormous breast (this was a truly huge turkey, probably 25-30 pounds or 11-14 kilos) in the freezer. Now I’m sure many of you know that this means that once that section was defrosted, I’d have to cook all of it off within a day or so.

So I grilled some, made some turkey cutlets, and then I played around with a new recipe that I invented because I had a craving for peppers.

I put the experiment on the table.

P tried it.

He didn’t say anything.

He didn’t so much as make a face one way or the other.

I thought he’d be great at poker, and then I got nervous.

Me: “Dimmi qualcosa!” (Tell me something!)

P: “Chista Γ¨ sua morte.

Literally translated, this is dialect for “This is his death,” but what it means is that this is the way that turkey should be cooked–that it was delicious.


As for our turkey fest, I told P it was just like having Thanksgiving in June…3 days of eating turkey! Woohoo!

Turkey with Sauteed Peppers & Onions

900 g (2 lbs) turkey cut into chunks
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
a few sprigs rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil2 large green peppers, cut into strips
2 medium onions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
olive oil as necessary

Coat pieces of turkey in garlic powder and salt, sprinkling rosemary about. I let this sit for a few minutes while I cut the peppers and onions, and it worked well.

Now heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan (medium heat) and add turkey. Be sure to cook on all sides until no longer pink, then remove turkey from pan (leaving most of the oil/juice) and set aside. Cover to keep warm.

Add peppers to the pan and cook until just tender, about five minutes, and then add onions and cook until they are both the consistency you prefer. Add salt and more olive oil to pan as needed (if you find that peppers and onions are sticking, for instance, add some oil). Note that you’ll need to stir these quite a bit while they’re cooking.

Finally add in the cooked turkey and let the flavors mingle together for a few minutes.

I recommend serving hot and with crusty bread. I’d normally say this serves four, but it really only served us two.

Even poverina Luna was left out of the fun.

Buon appetito!


[tags]turkey, turkey with peppers and onions, cooking, recipes, what’s cooking wednesday, peppers, onions[/tags]

21 Beans of Wisdom to “what’s cooking wednesday: turkey with sauteed peppers & onions”
  1. somepinkflowers


    on wednesday mornings
    i get my cooking lesson
    and my italian lesson BOTH right here.

    thanks ever so for the thanksgiving with green peppers in june idea.

    meanwhile, as you eat and eat and eat your turkey, i am practicing:
    ‘dimmi qualcosa.’


  2. J.Doe

    Looks/sounds good. I think I’ll try it without the salt though (for health reasons)

  3. sognatrice

    SPF, glad you enjoy the Italian words thrown in. I suppose I could’ve added that turkey = tacchino (tahk-KEE-no) or as we jokingly refer to ours: tacchinazzo! We (meaning P and me) willy nilly make new words by adding “azzo” to things to denote that they are big πŸ™‚

    JDoe, if it were up to me, I’d do without the salt as well–as it is, I put in as little as I can get away with and then P often adds at the table! I love my sugar, but salt I can do without.

  4. JennieBoo

    I am a vegetarian, but I’ve printed this recipe for “The Hubby”. He’s an omnivore.

    I share your plight. When I make something new, I always look to my hubby to let me know if it’s good.

    He’s such a good sport! (Believe me, he’s had some crazy stuff!)

    Peace to you on “Peace Globe Day” 2007!

  5. Karina

    I’m actually not a fan of turkey, and around Thanksgiving time, I dread the 3 days of nothing but turkey…and yet, that picture looks so appetizing, I’m actually considering getting some turkey next time I’m at the market!

  6. Sharon

    Turkey is good. I raised 5 one winter. They all survived and I even sold two. I didn-t think they were as good as Butterball!

  7. sognatrice

    Jennie, same to you (Happy Peace Day!). You’re so good for even cooking meat for Hubby πŸ™‚

    Karina, well, you can always do it with chicken if you’re not willing to talk turkey. Hah! Uh, ahem.

    Sharon, I was pleasantly surprised that our turkey was so tasty. P just got another three the other day. Fingers crossed….

  8. Paolo

    Una bella cena! Un cenazzo!!

    Help me understand “Chista Γ¨ sua morta…” is it specifically “this here animal gave its life for a kick-ass meal,” or is it more general than that. I like it… very mezzogiorno-fatalistic black humor-y.

  9. ViVi

    Wow, I’m definitely going to try this one! The only thing I’ll have to substitute is the olive oil, because I’m not allowed to have it right now – can you imagine the horror? Anyway, I wanted to ask you if you can actually find garlic powder in Italy? Here in only comes in dried flakes. I have my sister send me powdered onion and garlic!

  10. sognatrice

    Paolo, I’ve been told this is used specifically for food as you described…kind of like, “he died not for naught!” If it’s more generally used, I don’t know about it. I agree with your description of it as well–my exact response when he said it was “Cosaaaaa?”

    Vivi, no olive oil?! Actually no I can’t imagine it! Anyway, you busted me–I have my garlic powder shipped in as well. I’ve found nothing here that gives the same flavor, so it’s something that just must be done πŸ˜‰

  11. Sara

    Oh, poor Luna! How could you not even throw her a taste?

    I am told by people who have raised them that domesticated turkeys are so stupid that if they raise their heads to look up while it’s raining they can drown. I don’t imagine it rains a whole lot where you are, and here’s yet another reason that might be a good thing.

  12. a far away friend

    What a great idea! I love the smell of peppers and onions sauting in a pan. Great way to spice up those turkey leftovers!

  13. John Kaiser

    “I think I’ve mentioned this before, but for Thanksgiving last year, P got three turkeys to raise ourselves so we’d be assured of a good bird come Turkey Day.”

    Never get too familiar with your dinner. πŸ™‚

  14. Wanderlust Scarlett

    That IS the way turkey should be cooked! Looks very good! I’ll be right over…

    hee hee…


  15. Rebecca

    I love eating your meals…in my mind! I am an old cook – but right now I am caring for my father and he likes his meals the same and simple. All of my kitchen is packed up in boxes waiting for the day that I live in my own place again. It will happen, but for now, I am thankful for people like you that remind me that real food still lives!!!!

  16. Shan

    Oh this looks so yummy!!

  17. sognatrice

    Sara, I know–we are so mean to Luna. Don’t worry, though, she’s still well-fed. Everyone always tells me she’s grassa (fat), but it really just Italians and their crazy concepts of being fat. Luna is well within her suggested weight range. Oh, and I’ve heard that thing about turkeys too, but in my research about raising them, it said it’s really an old wives’ tale. All I know is that we have no drowning victims. Yet. Fingers crossed.

    Friend, peppers and onions sauteeing in a pan is absolutely one of my favorite smells too πŸ™‚

    John, good advice. P doesn’t have any problem raising food as his family has done it forever; I, on the other hand, like to stay away from the animals for the most part. It’s better that way.

    Scarlett, well you’ll have to wait until we defrost another hunk o’ turkey, but when we do, I’ll be sure to let you know πŸ˜‰

    Rebecca, thank you! It’s good that your passion for cooking continues even when you are a bit restrained. And kudos to you for taking care of Dad πŸ™‚

    Shan, thanks! And no beans!

  18. Julie

    Such a simple recipe but it looks so elegant.

  19. sognatrice

    Julie, thanks! Almost all of the recipes on here are pretty simple, keeping in line with the traditional Calabrian way; I’m glad you enjoyed this one πŸ™‚

  20. Wanderlust Scarlett

    Sorry to be back on an older post but I’ve just had a horrible experience in my kitchen… HELP!
    I’m attempting to at least stay in the right topic genre.
    I was trying to bake brownies. Yes, out of the box. Snip open the bag, dump it in the bowl with a large egg (okay… I have eggs, what size are these? do we care? it’s an egg). I only recently found out that egg cartons have expiration dates on them.
    1/4 c. veg oil
    no vegetable oil. We’ll use olive oil, it’s extra light, virgin olive oil. I have no idea what that means, but I like the idea of pure cooking. Olives are in the fruit/veggie family. It’ll work.
    water. can’t screw that up, theoretically… right?
    bake at 350. 30-33 minutes in this size pan, 33-35 minutes in that size pan. Size matters not. I take a guess and figure I’ll check it after half an hour or so. There is a notation regarding altitude. Anything above 3000 feet. I am in Denver, it’s a mile high. That’s 5,280 feet. There’s already too much math going on here. We’ll skip it.
    50 minutes later, the outside is crispy, the inside is STILL gooey and I finally become annoyed with having to wait so long and decide to cut the brownies and try one out. They are stuck to the pan and coming out in dry crusted but semi-gooey chunks from half way down. They look edible… but I eat my own cooking, so who knows.
    EEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. HORRIBLE… can I tell you how devastated I am that I can’t eat a whole pan of chocolate turtle brownies!!! The whole thing is going in the bin.
    I am going to the store to buy them in a little plastic box like I should have done to begin with, it would have saved time, probably money, and definitely my patience.

    ….what did I do wrong? Really? I’d like to think I could do something as simple as bake 9 lousy brownies, especially when they came in a box!!!!! Grr!

    any advice?

    thanks ever so much,

  21. sognatrice

    Oh Scarlett, my advice? Stay away from the oven!

    No, seriously, take heed–a quick search uncovered a woman who suffered the same brownie fate at high altitude! There are some great tips on there, so never doubt the package directions regarding altitude again. This was most likely the cause of the Great Brownie Snafu of 2007.

    As for the oil dilemma, that probably didn’t make a difference as you can use extra light version in place of vegetable oil without problems. Here’s more info on using olive oil in general.

    Hope this helps, and best of luck the next time around πŸ™‚

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

Calabria travel guide by Michelle Fabio



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake