Do you have recipes that have you convinced that the dish is healthy, virtuous, practically spa-worthy because it involves a certain ingredient? Because I’ve got tons of them. Come summer, the turkey burger is at the top of that list. Swap out the ground sirloin for ground turkey and, voila, you’re on a diet! Never mind the fact that the generous canopy of cheese, the giant bun and the smears of condiments remain. It’s a turkey burger: eat it with reckless abandon.
Teasing aside, I don’t just make these turkey burgers because they lessen the guilt. They also happen to be delicious. I’ve played around with the technique for a while (okay, fine, practically once a week, but who’s counting?) and I’ve come to a few conclusions. They are these: (1) do not overwork the meat; (2) add to the meat some minced onion or shallot as well as some flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, which will prevent the burgers from drying out; (3) account for shrinkage on the grill: shape your patties into rounds that are larger that the surface area of the buns you’re using; (4) cheese: use it, preferably a sharp or smoked cheddar.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
My current favorite version has a southwest flare: minced chipotles and cilantro in the burgers themselves, smoked cheddar, and a chipotle-flecked sauce (that kinda looks like “special sauce,” I know; but please trust that it’s tasty). You can see it peaking out beneath the bun in this photo, which was taken earlier this summer (and looks a little dizzy; sorry):
Give these a try at your next BBQ. You’ll thank me later: at least for making you feel virtuous.
Chipotle Turkey Burgers
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey breast
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper
4 slices of smoked cheddar
1 small red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rings
1 large tomato, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1 cup baby arugula or spinach
1/4 cup chipotle “ketchup” (recipe below)
4 hamburger buns (I usually use whole-wheat), split open
Prepare the grill.
Combine the turkey, shallot, garlic and cilantro, mixing gently with your hands (take care not to overwork). Score the meat into four equal portions and shape the portions into patties (make the patties slightly larger than the surface area of your buns). Sprinkle both sides of the patties with the salt and pepper. Grill the turkey burgers for 5 to 8 minutes per side, or until cooked through. When the burgers are almost done grilling, place a slice of cheese on top of each patty (the cheese will melt as the burgers finish grilling). Also place the buns, cut sides down, on the grill to toast; remove when lightly browned.
Serve the grilled patties and toasted buns along with the remaining fixings.
1 chipotle pepper (canned in adobo sauce), minced
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from the canned chipotles)
2 tablespoone sour cream or Greek yogurt
juice of one lime
salt, to taste
Whisk together the chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, sour cream and lime juice in a small bowl. Add salt to taste. [Note: this mixture can be combined in a 1:1 ratio with ketchup for a more “ketchupy” result. As is, the recipe will yield more of a creamy chipotle spread. Just don’t want to mislead anyone with the recipe name …}