August 6, 2009
The classic backyard-bbq comes standard with smoky beef burgers and hotdogs. While these summer mainstays will likely never go out of style, you might want to provide options for yourself and your guests and add the increasingly popular turkey burger to your menu.
Turkey burgers can either be great or horrible — easily. Without good seasoning and at least some fat, your burgers might come off the grill tasting more like cardboard than anything tasty. But, with a few additional ingredients and a little more attention than you would give to beef burgers you can overcome the dry-turkey-burger challenge.
When making turkey burgers, you’ll want to use ground turkey that is at least 97/3 (as in 3% fat). Stay away from 99% lean ground turkey, which is more likely to dry out. Ground turkey that includes turkey thighs is even better if you’re striving for the juiciest turkey burger you can make. I used 97/3 ground turkey for this recipe and the juiciness of the burgers was pretty good.
I recently came back from a visit to the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health where they have very tasty and healthy food, and when I returned home, I went on their website to take a look at their recipes. That’s where I discovered their recipe for sun-dried tomato turkey burgers, which inspired me to write this post. My recipe, containing fewer ingredients, is a little simpler than theirs.
The chopped, sun-dried tomatoes add a few bright notes of flavor throughout the burger and the sautéed shallots and flat-leaf parsley add to the flavor as well. As with any burger, whether you’re cooking the burgers on the grill or on the stovetop in a pan, you’ll want to be sure not to overcook it (otherwise get ready for a dry burger).
Do you have any other tips or ways to make tasty turkey burgers? One of my cousins adds ground chicken sausage to his, which is another way to add good flavor.
Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Burgers
Adapted from a recipe by the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health
Makes about 4 – 5 burgers
1.3 pounds of lean ground turkey (no leaner than 97/3)
1 shallot, finely diced
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 olive oil-soaked sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
2 clove garlic, minced
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small pan over medium heat; add shallot and sauté for about 1 minute or so. In a large bowl, add ground turkey, sautéed shallot, and remaining ingredients. Stir with a fork to mix well. Break off a handful (about the size of a baseball) of seasoned ground turkey at a time and form 4 to 5 burger patties. Cook over a grill or in a pan on stovetop over medium to medium-high heat.
To cook by stovetop, set patties aside and heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick pan. Add patties to the pan being sure not to overcrowd the pan. You may have to cook two patties at a time depending on the size of the pan. Cook on one side for about 3 – 4 minutes and then flip patties to cook on the other side for another 4 minutes. Flip once more to cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Check one patty for doneness. If it’s not done, cook a little longer. Let burgers rest for a few minutes before serving on burger buns with lettuce, tomatoes and your other favorite burger toppings.