Friday, August 1, 2008

Turkey burgers you'll gobble up!

Get it? Turkey burger? Gobble up? Hey, a sense of humor in the kitchen is just as crucial as a Cuisinart; just don't be getting too slaphappy with the steak knives.

So, when was the last time you had a turkey burger that was really tasty? I think the majority of us consider it a punishment to have to eat ground turkey instead of ground beef, and I also think we try to compare the two unfairly. Comparing turkey burgers to beef burgers is like comparing zucchini fries to french fries.. or apples to oranges, in other words. Each can be delicious in their own right, but are not meant to be compared to, or become an exact substitution for the other. Once you accept that you've chosen to eat a turkey burger, you can then start to make comparisons between turkey burger recipes and find the one that has you going back for seconds. And I think I've finally found that recipe!

If you're electing to eat turkey because of its reduced fat and cholesterol, remember that all ground turkey is not created equally. If you're a label reader, you'll find that many varieties of ground turkey have nearly as much fat as ground beef. I used 97% lean ground turkey breast for this recipe. However, it is because of this leanness that healthy turkey burgers get a bad rap from most peoples' taste buds. With so little fat, they tend to be very dry. Therefore, it becomes important to add in something to produce moisture and flavor. This is accomplished by incorporating vegetables into the mix.

On the day that I made these burgers I was also oven-roasting some vegetables, so I threw an extra four cloves of garlic, 2 whole sweet jaleno peppers, a banana pepper, and a half an onion into the roasting pan. When they were nicely charred and soft, I then tossed these into the food processor, seeds and all, and pulsed them into a paste to add to my turkey mixture. I think it might just have been this extra step that put these turkey burgers over the top!

Turkey Burgers

1 lb ground turkey breast
oven roasted garlic, peppers, and onion, pulsed in food processor (see above)
2 slices whole wheat bread, crusts removed, and processed into crumbs in food processor (I used about 3/4 of these crumbs)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp worchestershire sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
a dash of liquid smoke
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced onion
1-2 tsps Montreal steak seasoning
pepper
3/4 cup grated manchego cheese (Monterey jack would work well here too)

Place all of the above into a bowl and mix to combine. Shape into four patties, season with salt and pepper, and either grill or pan fry in a little olive oil.

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