"For a change of pace in the summer what a great idea to have a turkey burger dinner instead of a traditional hamburger" says Julie Geary of Classic Cooks Catering, "and we are saving ourselves a few calories too."
Turkey is naturally low in fat, so a good choice if you are trying to cut down on calories, and it's also very high in protein. But this recipe is not just healthy, it's versatile - if you don't fancy burgers, you can turn it into meatloaf. Or why not make a double batch and get two dinners out of the way at once? You'll only need to add a few extra ingredients. Geary also suggests a couple of twists on the classic meatloaf if you fancy something different, like Asian style with soy sauce and ginger or southwestern with cumin and cilantro.
To one pound of turkey mince, Geary adds some cracker crumbs flavored with parsley and Parmesan cheese, an egg and some salt and pepper and mixes it up with her hands. She then makes them into four patties; "We probably want to make about a 5 ounce burger, which in your hand is going to be about the size of a baseball, so we're going to put this together and then we're just going to flatten it with our hands."
Geary stresses the importance of cooking the patties all the way through; "These need to be 165 degrees inside so it's going to take 15 to 20 minutes for them to cook. These take a lot longer than a traditional hamburger." It helps to make the patties nice and even and also to keep the temperature on the grill down; ""If the temperature is too high you're just going to burn the outside of these and the inside is not going to be cooked" Geary explains.
She greases the grill, puts the patties on and closes the lid to help them cook through. When they are half done she turns them; "don't get upset with your turkey burgers because they do stick a little". This is because they don't have much fat in them. "Just take that spatula and get right underneath" she says.
While the patties are finishing Geary prepares the buns - "What's a hamburger or a turkey burger or even a hotdog without a grilled bun?" She slices them in half, butters them and puts them on the grill just before the patties are ready - "Keep an eye on these because these are going to cook very quickly" she warns.
Geary is so tempted by the burgers that she has to take a bite straight away; "I was going to dress that up, put some lettuce and tomato on it, but while I'm here I think I'll just have a little bite" she says, "Mmm, very good, if I do say so myself".
Grilled Turkey Burgers
1 package ground turkey, 90% or 93% lean
1/2 cup cracker crumbs (dry or butter flavored crackers like Ritz)
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
4 hamburger buns
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1. Mix crumbs with Parmesan cheese, parsley and salt and pepper.
2. Mix crumb mixture with ground turkey. Add egg, garlic and salt and pepper. Mix well.
3. Take about 5 ounces of the turkey mixture, about the size of a baseball, and flatten into a patty.
4. Place on medium hot grill, about 350 degrees F., and grill until cooked all the way through. (165 degrees F. in the center, about 12 to 15 minutes total cooking time).
5. Butter inside of buns and grill until brown.
Serve with lettuce, tomato or your favorite garnish.
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Recipe courtesy of Julie Geary, Classic Cooks Catering, 2012.