How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Not-ordinary Turkey Burgers

A few years ago, we discovered that mixing in a shredded apple greatly improves the texture of turkey burgers, which can often be a bit dry and crumbly. So I was intrigued by the recipe for Turkey & Spinach Burgers in our Big Green Egg Cookbook. I was even more intrigued by the inclusion of a tomato-based pesto.

Lazy blogger alert: I went to a bit of trouble to photograph the ingredients lists, rather than type them. The basic list is:
I followed this pretty carefully, except that I used one bag of spinach, which might have been 10 ounces, and one pound of ground turkey. I've never seen white and dark ground turkey sold separately. I don't measure salt and pepper, but I'm pretty sure I used a lot less salt than called for. I mixed these, along with the garlic, in a bowl and then formed them into four patties.

I started by lighting the grill, because that takes a while, and then I wilted the spinach. To do this, I rinsed it and then placed it in a large pan over medium-high heat on the stovetop. Stirring occasionally, the full pot of spinach was quickly reduced to something like a cupful. I used "regular" spinach; next time I will use baby spinach so that it is more leafy and lest stemmish.
I blended the mayo and mustard in a small serving bowl, as this is a topping for the table.

I then started the pesto. so that it would be ready before I began grilling.
The recipe calls for draining the tomatoes, reserving 1/4 cup of oil, and then adding back another 1/4 of oil. I simply used the whole jar (8.5 ounces) and added oil until it looked right. The recipe calls for using a food processor, which we do not have. In such cases, we always use knives or our blender; in this case, the blender did not work very well. Next time I will chop and mix these ingredients in a bowl before smoothing them in a blender.

I cooked the burgers on a cooking stone -- rather than directly on the grill, because I always end up with 1/3 of the burger stuck in the grill. The stone works great -- I just need to be sure it is quite hot when I am ready to put something on it. In this case, of course, it was the patties. I think I grilled them at 450-500 for about 8 minutes on one side, 4 on the other, then another minute or so with swiss cheese on top. I seem to have gotten the doneness right, which for me remains mostly a matter of luck.

I took set the burgers aside on a plate and then brushed the pesto onto each half of the wheat buns (I used large kaiser rolls -- highly recommended for this messy meal), set them on the grill, and closed the egg.

I then went inside to finish up my mac-and-cheese comfort-food side dish. This led to my only real error -- for buns directly on the grill, two minutes was much too much, and they were a bit charred by the time I retrieved them.

The end result, though: absolutely delicious turkey burgers with several vegetable groups well represented!

NOTE: The cookbook is essential for Big Green Egg owners who want to get the most interesting results from their grills; some of its best recipes can also be found on the recipe section of the manufacturer's web site.

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