You may have noticed by now, but I have an innate Hawaiian desire to turn most dishes Asian.  Oatmeal? Why not Jook? Soup? Why not miso? Noodles? I want soba. So it's no surprise that I turned a recent turkey meatloaf into a shiitake ginger masterpiece (if I say so myself). It all started with a basket of "ugly shiitakes" from the Civic Center Farmers Market.  They sell these curly little buggers for half the price as the full, but they are just as fresh and flavorful.  Hardly a week goes by without a trip to the mushroom booth.

Shiitakes have a rich, smoky wood flavor and are a great addition to most anything.  I like them in stir fry's with tofu, miso soups, with braised meats, sauteed with garlic and sesame oil AND I love to save the stems in the freezer for a later-made soup stock.  Not to mention their numerous health benefits.

Combined with a package of frozen ground turkey meat (one of my frozen protein staples), and a few  staple asian spices I had on hand, I came out with a very simple, nourishing dinner. I served this  with sautéed spicy bok choy.

SHIITAKE MEATLOAF WITH GINGER MISO GLAZE

Ingredients: 

For the Loaf

  • 1  1/2 lb lean ground turkey (preferably organic)
  • 4-8 shiitake mushroom caps and stems removed
  • 3 tsp Fresh ginger, skinned and minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 organic eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp sambal (optional)

For the Miso Glaze

  • 1 Tbs miso paste
  • 1 tsp mirin (or rice vinegar)
  • 1 Tbs honey

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

Begin by putting your ground turkey into a large mixing bowl.  Using sesame oil, sauté your shallot and garlic until just cooked (about 1 minute.) Add shiitakes and ginger and saute until just cooked (about 5 mins.)

Add this mixture to ground turkey, along with your green onions and all the sauces (hoisin, tamari, honey, fish sauce and sambal). Mix all the  ingredients together.   Place the turkey mixture into a deep loaf pan (9X5).

To make the glaze simply whisk together the miso, honey and mirin.  Coat the turkey loaf with a layer of glaze, reserving some for a final coat when it comes out of the oven.

Bake for 50-60 minutes. Pull from oven and coat with the remaining glaze. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving. Great with any kind of veggies!

The Skinny: Shiitakes are a super food!! They are most known for their ability to power up the immune system, strengthening its ability to fight infection and disease.  Interestingly, studies have actually shown that shiitakes can either increase or decrease immune activity, depending on what the body needs.  They have also been shown to lower cholesterol levels. To top it off, shiitakes are an excellent sources of selenium and polysaccharides and a very good source of vegetarian iron.