Sunday, May 29, 2011

0 Recipe #271: Spicy Turkey Burgers with Roasted Red Pepper Salsa & Sweet Pickle Relish

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As you might have noticed, the last two recipes were for roasted red pepper salsa and sweet (or savory) pickle relish. Of course, that wasn't coincidental. ;) These recipes were posted in anticipation of this one -- i.e., spicy turkey burgers with all the trimmings. :-D

Turkey burgers are a quick and super-easy meal, one that seems to have been destined for busy weeknights or weekend BBQs. Unlike roasted (i.e., Thanksgiving Day style) turkey or turkey deli meat, ground turkey is fairly neutral tasting, and so, picks up the flavor of whatever else is added to it. Really, one could say that it's the tabula rasa of ground meats. ;)

As a person who's not wild about turkey (pun intended ;) ) to begin with, I must say that I was initially a bit skeptical about whether or not I'd actually like turkey burgers. In fact, the idea of eating turkey burgers had never even crossed my mind until a friend asked me if I had any turkey-based recipes.

The (Twitter) conversation went something like this:

@cyberpenguin (i.e., moi):
If any of you have any recipe requests or would like me to custom-create a recipe for you, let me know. I could use some inspiration. :)

@fiftypullups (i.e., Brett, the aforementioned friend, a.k.a. @TRIPHX):
@cyberpenguin Anything turkey burger-based? #mynewestaddiction

@fiftypullups: Not yet. :) Not a huge turkey fan here, but am willing 2 b open-minded+give it a 2nd chance in another format on ur behalf. ;)

And later, after making the turkey burgers, I wrote elsewhere, "I'll be damned, turkey burgers actually taste good. (Sampled a bit.) AND, they taste NOTHING like turkey. Huge bonus in my book. :)"

So, as you can see, what initially began as a friendly gesture to help out a pal turned into a revelation. :) So thank you, Brett, for suggesting the idea. Just goes to prove that you never know if you like something until you try it, eh?! One of the bonuses of keeping an open mind. :)

Spicy Turkey Burgers with Roasted Red Pepper Salsa & Sweet Pickle Relish

Burger Ingredients:
1.3 lbs. lean ground turkey (typically 93% lean or, if using lean ground turkey breast meat, 99% lean)
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground oregano
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground dry mustard
1/2 tsp. ground clove
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground chipotle (or 1/2 tsp. cayenne) pepper, or to taste
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 c. low sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

4 whole wheat, multi-grain, or sesame hamburger buns, halved and toasted (if desired)
thinly sliced red onions, sliced crosswise into 1/4"-thick rounds (1 onion slice per burger)
sliced tomatoes (1 tomato slice per burger)
lettuce (1 large leaf per burger)
thinly sliced avocado (1-3 small slices per burger)
roasted red pepper salsa (about 1-2 Tbsp. per burger)
sweet (or savory) pickle relish (about 1 Tbsp. per burger)

Directions: Make the pickle relish and the roasted red pepper salsa in advance, preferably several days ahead of time. (Click on links for the recipes.)

In a large bowl mix together the paprika, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, ginger, dry mustard, clove, allspice, chipotle (or cayenne), black pepper, and salt with your hands until ingredients are evenly distributed. Add the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and ground turkey, and mix thoroughly. Shape turkey meat mixture into 4 (3 1/2 - 4"-diameter) patties (using either your hands or a hamburger patty maker). Let meat reach room temperature before cooking. Before you turn on the grill, lightly oil the grill grate so that the patties don't stick to the grill. Grill for 5-7 minutes per side on an outdoor grill over medium heat, until browned on the outside and the center is no longer pink. (Cook through to the desired level of doneness.) Simultaneously toast buns on the grill, if desired. Serve burgers on buns with desired accompaniments.

Yield: Makes 4 burgers.

Chef's Notes: So why use 1.3 lbs and not 1 lb. of ground turkey? Well, first, a lot of ground turkey comes packaged in 1.3 lb. amounts, instead of 1 lb. Furthermore, 1.3 lbs. is the perfect amount to fill the patty maker four times for four decent-sized burgers, whereas 1 lb. divided into four portions just isn't quite enough meat to make a satisfying burger that's just the right size for the eyeballs and the stomach. :) Yeah, I know that a typical serving of meat should be about 4 oz., but do we really need to split hairs over an extra 0.075 lb. (or a little over 1 oz.) per person?! ;) I think not. :-D Of course, if you'd rather use 1 lb., you'll have to play with the seasonings a bit to determine their proper amounts. (That's a 1.3:1 ratio, so if you want to be precise about it, scale the recipe accordingly, i.e., by dividing the ingredient amounts by 0.76923076923076923076923076923077. Hahaha. OK, to make things easier, you can round that figure to 0.75, and multiple the amounts by 3/4. Fractions are immeasurably easier to use when modifying serving sizes or the number of servings. Either that, or you'll have some extra spicy burgers. LOL.

I'll usually make burgers on our George Foreman indoor electric (tabletop) grill, which eliminates a lot of hassle, and makes the burger extra healthy, because it drains off all of the excess fat. This type of grill is also rather convenient if you don't happen to have a traditional outdoor grill or just feel like making burgers indoors for a change. ;)

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