I’ve said this before, but I grew up in a house with a chef who leaned toward the carnivorous side. My father can make a prime rib that will melt in your mouth — I never knew what that phrase really meant until I had his prime rib — burgers that wouldn’t go dry if you tried, pork tenderloin that will remain one of my favorites until the day I die, tender lamb chops and don’t get me started on his grilled herb chicken.
One thing we never did much of was turkey. When I was in college, interning at The Muncie Star Press, I was on the paper’s Relay For Life team. We had several internal fundraisers, including a cook-off with each of us picking a healthy ingredient from a list the lifestyle writer had found and making something with that ingredient. I chose ground turkey because, hey, it can’t be much different from ground beef, right? Turkey meatballs sounded easy enough.
Turns out, the texture of the raw turkey was all different and, having never worked with it before, the meatballs ended up very dense and dry and, as per the typical course with turkey, lacking flavor. There were a lot of breadcrumbs involved and needless to say, the winner was someone else.
Since then, unless using it as just ground turkey, like for chili or things like that, I’ve shied away from using turkey as a beef replacement, especially when I’m able to take home several pounds of ground beef purchased from a local farmer every time I go up to my parents’ house.
After seeing some ground turkey on manager’s special at JayC, I figured I’d give it a second chance and I’m glad I did.
With regular beef burgers, you can add some seasonings and just form them into patties and throw them on a skillet or grill. With turkey, you’ll need some more reenforcements to keep your patties from going to hell in a handbasket.
These turkey burgers from Never Enough Thyme calls for grated Gruyere cheese (can substitute Swiss if you balk at the cost of Gruyere or already have some on hand), green onions, bread crumbs and dijon mustard. The upside to this means you’re packing in huge amounts of flavor into these burgers.
The trick to getting a decent texture with ground turkey is not over-handling it. Mix the ingredients with a fork to keep the mixture from getting too smooshed.
Cook these until they reach a minimum of 170ºF, but you can probably gauge the burgers’ done-ness without the need for a thermometer.
Because there’s already cheese and mustard inside the burger, if you don’t overcook them, there really isn’t much to do with them after they’re done aside from any veggies you might want to add.
This recipe makes four pretty big burgers, but I don’t see how this couldn’t be made into meatballs if you’re so inclined. Sign in and comment below and tell us how this recipe turned out for you!