Gobble, gobble burgers

Turkey burgers? Hmmmm….not so sure. I know, I know. I’m the guy who extolled the virtues of lamb burgers just a couple of weeks ago – but turkey? Here’s the problem. People like to talk about turkey as the “healthy” choice and say things like “replace your hamburger with turkey and you won’t even notice the difference.” It’s like a bait and switch operation where you take one food and try to make it taste like another.

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Why can’t turkey just taste like turkey?

The answer is that ground turkey – nice and lean and lower calorie – can be pretty boring. I’ve been messing around with turkey burgers for a while and I know. You start out with this lean meat and you want to keep it moist so you add an egg but then the whole thing looks way too mushy so you add bread crumbs. You make them into patties, fry them up and suddenly you’ve got something that looks and tastes like a shot-put.

So what do you do? I figured out the key is to skip the bread crumbs. You don’t need them. They are not your friend. They make your turkey burgers heavy and dense. The other key is to add lots of seasoning – fresh herbs and chile are a must. Turkey can take it – honest. Now the burger mixture you’re going to get is soft – too soft to form into patties – but that’s okay. You’re going to scoop the mixture onto the hot pan, let it cook through (no medium rare here guys) and then serve it up with some creamy avocado.

I’ve added zucchini to the mixture too. No, this is not my way of sneaking in a vegetable on you. I’ve done it for one reason and one reason only – it tastes great.

Turkey Zuchini Burgers with Chile, Dill & Mint

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I’m going to be honest with you. This mixture – pre-cooking – isn’t going to win any beauty contest. It’s a bit goopy but persevere because they taste great. Honest.

Serves 3-4

Turkey burgers
1 lb. ground turkey meat
1 zucchini, coarsely grated
3-4 scallions, finely chopped – about 3 ½ Tbsp
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ Tbsp dill, finely chopped
1 ½ Tbsp mint, finely chopped
1 tsp cayenne
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Salt
Olive oil or vegetable oil for frying

Creamy avocado
1 avocado
1 Tbsp dill
1 Tbsp sour cream
Lime juice
Salt

In a large bowl, mix together all the burger ingredients thoroughly but avoid over mixing as it damages the texture of the turkey. Heat a frying pan and coat with a tablespoon or two of oil. When the pan is hot, place spoonfuls of the burger mixture onto the pan (about ¼ cup per burger). When browned, flip and continue cooking until cooked through. If you have time, test a small sample burger first, taste and adjust the chile and salt as needed.

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While the burgers are cooking, make the Creamy avocado. In a small bowl, mash the avocado until fairly smooth. Stir in the dill and sour cream and a good squeeze or two of lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve on top of or along side the burgers.

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