Monday, July 7, 2008


This weekend I officially made the best turkey burger ever. Ever. What's that? You make the best turkey burger ever? Sorry to break the news, but not anymore. Once you try this recipe for yourself (and you really should), you'll come over to my side. I'm generally not one to boast this heartily about a recipe, but after all of the effort I put into coming up with the juiciest, most flavorful turkey burger possible, you'll understand my intense pride.

I initially planned on making a turkey burger for dinner a few weeks ago and documenting it here on the blog. I'd long ago mastered the perfect beef burger and figured a heavenly turkey burger wasn't too much of a stretch. Needless to say, I greatly underestimated the differences between a traditional burger and a turkey burger. I started out anticipating the obvious differences--turkey is much leaner, has less natural flavor, and must be cooked all the way through. With all of this in mind I looked into a few recipes and took bits and pieces from each. The result was okay, but not really worth the effort. After all, the way I look at it, if I'm spending the extra dough on ground turkey instead of on cheaper (and naturally tastier) ground beef, I need the burger to pack a flavor wallop.

Fast forward to Sunday morning when I awoke at 9 am sharp with a purpose: to watch my fellow countryman Rafael Nadal win Wimbledon for Spain. Seven hours of excellent tennis later I was emotionally exhausted but fired up by his win (!). In order to keep from pacing and driving myself crazy during the actual match, I decided to flip through some seasonal cookbooks and jot down a few ingredients to experiment with. While doing so, I came across one of the recipes I'd used to make that first bland turkey burger. I decided then and there to celebrate Nadal's win by conquering the turkey burger. So, I spent a little too much money at the grocery store, carried all of the groceries home, and after I slept off the pain in my forearms from walking 4 blocks with 8 grocery bags, I tackled the turkey.

This time I went for intense flavor. The last time I was still in Beef Land, where the meet is juicy and medium rare. I needed to realize that I was in Turkey Town, where the meat is lean, lacking in flavor, and dry. So, to bring this burger to a happy medium, I tackled it on all fronts. Whereas in a beef burger I leave well enough alone where random ingredients are concerned, under cook it, and leave it beefy tasting, for the turkey burger I added moisture and flavor with the help of a few ingredients. Doing double duty was some lovely Laughing Cow cheese, which I generally reserve for dips and crackers, but it has just enough sharpness to add flavor, and the perfect texture to add moisture. Chipotle peppers really went well with the burger and brought a whole bunch of smoky flavor to the party without overwhelming. Spring onions, Dijon mustard and a splash of soy sauce lended some depth of flavor and pizazz to the whole thing. I served it the way every turkey burger should be, with crispy iceberg lettuce, a big dollop of mayonnaise and a squirt of ketchup. Here's what I came up with:

Chipotle Spiced Turkey Burgers

1-1.5 lbs ground turkey (not too lean)
2 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 spring onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 chipotle peppers (in adobo), minced, seeds removed
2 Laughing Cow cheese wedges, chopped
black pepper
vegetable oil

1. Combine all ingredients except for the oil in a bowl and stir to combine.

2. Heat a grill or grill pan on medium-high heat. Form mixture into 4 equal burgers, about 1 inch thick and brush each with vegetable oil. Cook on grill or grill pan until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Lower heat to medium and continue grilling until cooked through, about 5-8 minutes per side. Enjoy!


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