Turkey Burgers | foodsciencenerd.com

Turkey Burgers (that actually taste good)

Posted on Posted in Culinary Science, Recipes

This post comes courtesy of a Wegman’s gift card my mom sent! (Hi!)  Turkey burgers are tricky.  Because ground turkey is very lean, it is, of course, a healthy choice, but it also dries out in the amount of time it takes to cook through.  Unlike ground beef, turkey has to be well done before it is safe to eat, so leaving “pink” in the middle is also not an option like it is with a burger.  Sometimes, the solution is to put cheese in the middle, but really– what’s the point?  Then it’s less healthy than a beef burger and it’ll, unfortunately, never taste as good.  But there is another option, which I learned a long time ago from the Yardhouse, a chain brewery that my roommates and I frequented in Boston.  And it actually improves the health of the burgers to the point that I feel 0% guilty about eating these on a regular weeknight– veggies!  I chose veggies that are high in flavor and in water content and minced them very small so the texture doesn’t interfere too much with the normal ground meat texture.  I also sauteed the vegetables first for two reasons- to increase the flavor delivery (a little extra salt and Maillard reaction never hurt anything!) and to release some of the water so it doesn’t leak out into the burger and cause it to fall apart.

I also used a cooking technique that I thought I made up- I seared the burgers in a little butter until cooked about halfway through (maybe 3-4 minutes on a side).  Then, I added some cheese- fresh mozzarella in this case- and broiled the burgers until the cheese was browned and the burgers were juuuuuuuust cooked through.  This resulted in a juicy, flavorful burger that even tasted good as microwaved leftovers the next day!  I later checked my ATK Cooking School cookbook, and it turns out that’s how they cook their burgers too.  At least I know it’s not my imagination.  Without further ado, here is the recipe!

Ingredients (makes 3-4 burgers):

  • 1 shallot, minced fine
  • 1 red bell pepper, minced fine
  • 1 carrot, shredded (use the fine side of a box grater) and squeezed to release some of the juices
  • 1 pound 94% lean turkey burgers (you’ve chosen poultry over red meat, so reward yourself with a little fat!  Any leaner and the burgers will shrivel up like an old rubber band)
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp butter
  • Cheese for melting (I used mozzarella)
  • Rolls (whole wheat are obviously healthiest, but pretzel rolls are just so darn delicious)
  1. Saute the shallot and bell pepper in butter, salt, and a splash of soy sauce until just browning, about 4 minutes.IMG_0683
  2. Mix the meat in a large bowl with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and the soy sauce.  Add the carrots and about half the sauteed veggies and mix.  Add more of the veggies if needed (I used about 1 cup total) and divide into equal sized patties.  Make a divit in the middle so the burgers don’t puff up as the proteins solidify in the heat.  Season both sides generously with salt and pepper.

IMG_0686

3) If using fresh mozzarella, slice and press between paper towels to draw out extra water that may prevent browning under the broiler.  Meanwhile, heat half the butter over high heat, preferably in a cast iron pan, but certainly in a pan that can go under the broiler.IMG_0688  Also, turn on the broiler at this point.IMG_0687

4) When the butter is browned but not burning, add the burgers.  Let sear WITHOUT MOVING for at least 3 minutes, or until the turkey appears cooked 1/3 to 1/2 of the way up the side of the burger.  Flip and repeat on the other side.  Add the cheese.
IMG_0691

5)  Move the pan under the broiler, on high, for 4-5 minutes or until there is just barely no pink left in the middle.  If you aren’t using cheese- DON’T broil.  Instead, bake in a 300F oven for about 5 minutes.  Remove the burgers to a plate and tent with tin foil to rest.

Turkey Burgers | foodsciencenerd.com

6) Meanwhile, butter the rolls and sprinkle with onion or garlic salt.  Toast in the cast iron (without cleaning it out- no need to waste that meaty, cheesy residue!) for a few minutes on low heat until golden brown.IMG_0694

And that’s it!  Enjoy your juicy, super flavorful, and completely guilt-free burger with a side of veggies and a beer.  Perfection.

Turkey Burgers | foodsciencenerd.com

Guilt-free Turkey Burgers

Guilt-free Turkey Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, minced fine
  • 1 red bell pepper, minced fine
  • 1 carrot, shredded (use the fine side of a box grater) and squeezed to release some of the juices
  • 1 lb 94% lean turkey burgers
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp butter
  • Cheese for melting
  • Rolls

Directions

  1. Saute the shallot and bell pepper in butter, salt, and a splash of soy sauce until just browning, about 4 minutes.
  2. Mix the meat in a large bowl with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and the soy sauce. Add the carrots and about half the sauteed veggies and mix. Add more of the veggies if needed (I used about 1 cup total) and divide into equal sized patties. Make a divit in the middle so the burgers don't puff up as the proteins solidify in the heat. Season both sides generously with salt and pepper.
  3. If using fresh mozzarella, slice and press between paper towels to draw out extra water that may prevent browning under the broiler. Meanwhile, heat half the butter over high heat, preferably in a cast iron pan, but certainly in a pan that can go under the broiler. Also turn on the broiler at this point.
  4. When the butter is browned but not burning, add the burgers. Let sear WITHOUT MOVING for at least 3 minutes, or until the turkey appears cooked 1/3 to 1/2 of the way up the side of the burger. Flip and repeat on the other side. Add the cheese.
  5. Move the pan under the broiler, on high, for 4-5 minutes or until there is just barely no pink left in the middle. If you aren't using cheese- DON'T broil. Instead, bake in a 300F oven for about 5 minutes. Remove the burgers to a plate and tent with tin foil to rest.
  6. Meanwhile, butter the rolls and sprinkle with onion or garlic salt. Toast in the cast iron (without cleaning it out- no need to waste that meaty, cheesy residue!) for a few minutes on low heat until golden brown.
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