A Perfect Pairing

By Linda Funk, The Soyfoods Council

It’s common for cooks and chefs to pair many animal-based proteins together, such as eggs and dairy in omelets or quiches, beef and dairy in stroganoff or cheeseburgers, and pork and dairy in a charcuterie board or casserole. Pairing plant- and animal-based proteins might feel less common, but it’s an easy way to boost variety and nutrition in meals.

The Perfect Pairing Contest, sponsored by the Iowa Turkey Federation and The Soyfoods Council, invited chefs to submit their original recipes featuring turkey and soy foods. A judging panel selected the most creative, innovative recipes that paired turkey with soy in ways that address today’s eating trends. 

Contestants in the Perfect Pairing Contest competed for cash prizes. Winning recipes promoted the creativity and expertise of the state’s chefs, whose menus offer the two high-quality proteins produced by Iowa farmers.

First Place Winners

First place winners received a cash prize of $2,500 and a display plaque for their restaurant.

Chef Matt Meadows of Isle Casino in Bettendorf created a recipe for Turkey Yakitori that took first place honors in the small plates (appetizers and snacks) category. The recipe features yakitori skewers made with turkey tenderloin cut into cubes, placed in a yakitori marinade and then grilled. The skewers are plated over turkey fried rice made with ground turkey, fried tofu and shelled edamame. The dish is drizzled with lemongrass sauce made with silken tofu, ½ a stalk of finely chopped lemongrass and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemongrass juice.

Chef Jonathan Cook of the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines won first place in the soups category with his Turkey and Smoky Butternut Squash Soup with Tofu Cilantro Crème. The soup combines roasted turkey breast, smoked silken tofu, roasted butternut squash and soy milk. Shredded turkey is added to the center of each bowl before serving. The soup is finished with a drizzle of tofu cilantro crème, made in a blender with unsmoked silken tofu and fresh cilantro.

Second Place Awards

Chef Raul Murillo of the Iowa Events Center won two $1,500 second-place awards. His small plate recipe is Turkey Roulade with smoked tofu, pine nuts, spinach, roasted red peppers and Swiss cheese on a plantain chip. The dish is finished with a green curry and edamame coulis. His winning recipe in the soups category was Turkey and Tofu Chili. The hearty chili combines ground turkey, diced tofu, onions, edamame and garbanzo beans.



Third Place Winners

Chef Nick Lopez of Isle Casino won a $1,000 cash prize for his small plate dish of Savoy Cabbage Wraps with ground turkey filling and a miso glaze.

Chef David Perez of Hyperion Field Club in Johnston received a third-place award and $1,000 for Turkey Noodle Raviolo made with tofu pasta and turkey consommé.

Winning chefs will feature their recipes on their restaurants’ menus for three months to allow patrons to enjoy the award-winning dishes. For winning recipes, visit The Soyfoods Council website at thesoyfoodscouncil.com.