Turkey Burgers

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This is the first in a two part "series" on these burgers, but the recipes are entirely separate and can be used separately.  Today's is about the actual burger recipe, which I saw in the July issue of Cooking Light.  For the last several months, I have tried to greatly decrease our beef usage in the Givens household because Drew eats it sometimes twice a day at the fire station, so I don't want to overload him.  We still eat beef, but I am just trying to make it less so that neither of us gets sick of it or dies early from how bad they tell us red meat is. 

So, in this CL special on all kinds of healthier burgers, I decided to try out this turkey burger with roasted eggplant.  Cooking Light claimed that this particular recipe tasted meaty due to the addition of Marmite and soy sauce and stayed moist due to the incorporation of roasted eggplant. 

This was the first turkey burger I have made, and here's what I've learned:
1.  The roasted eggplant would probably be better in the burger mixture if your food processor would actually work properly.

2.  Keep the mixing of the turkey to a minimum as it will turn to mush in no time flat.

3.  If you don't have Marmite and don't want to spend $6 on a little jar (or if your store doesn't carry it at all), then you can use some Worcestershire sauce to similar effect and taste. 

4.  The burgers are more sturdy than the black bean burgers, so they can be grilled, but they're still soft and sink down a bit.  Caution!

So, the verdict:  I wasn't crazy about these (sorry to post a sort of dud recipe), but they weren't bad, either.  With some tweaking, I'd likely do turkey burgers again. The Worcestershire sauce that I used in place of the Marmite and soy sauce did impart a more meaty, burger like flavor, and the grill helped with that, too.

The eggplant was what I wasn't so crazy about.  Now, my food processor is on its way to meeting the same fate that the copier did in the movie Office Space because it doesn't process so well.  It's only really good for turning Oreos or graham crackers to crumbs.  With that rant out of the way, it could have been that my eggplant wasn't properly processed, but either way I didn't like biting down on the eggplant seeds in my burgers.  So, for the future I might try to add some grated onion or maybe even zucchini or yellow squash for moisture.

So, without further delay, here is the original recipe and its link:

Turkey Burgers with Roasted Eggplant
from July 2010 Cooking Light

1 (8-ounce) eggplant

Cooking spray
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, divided
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 pound turkey tenderloins, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon less-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon Marmite
4 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns, toasted
4 Bibb lettuce leaves
4 (1/4-inch-thick) tomato slices

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Lightly coat eggplant with cooking spray; wrap eggplant in foil. Place eggplant on a jelly-roll pan; bake at 400° for 45 minutes or until very tender, turning once. Remove from foil; cool slightly. Cut eggplant in half. Carefully scoop out pulp to measure 1 1/4 cups; discard skin. Place pulp in a food processor; process until smooth. Reserve 1/4 cup pureed pulp. Combine remaining pulp, 1 tablespoon parsley, 2 teaspoons oil, juice, and garlic. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.
3. To prepare grinder, place feed shaft, blade, and 1/4-inch die plate in freezer 30 minutes or until well chilled. Assemble the grinder just before grinding.
4. Arrange turkey pieces in a single layer on jelly-roll pan, leaving space between each piece. Freeze 15 minutes or until meat is firm but not frozen. Combine meat and remaining 2 teaspoons oil in large bowl; toss to combine. Pass meat through meat grinder completely. Immediately pass meat through grinder a second time. Combine reserved 1/4 cup eggplant puree, turkey, remaining 1 tablespoon parsley, soy sauce, and Marmite in a large bowl. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, gently shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Press a nickel-sized indentation in the center of each patty. Cover and chill until ready to grill.
5. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
6. Lightly coat patties with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place patties on grill rack, and grill 4 minutes until well marked. Carefully turn patties over, and grill 3 minutes or until done. Place 1 patty on bottom half of each bun; top each serving with 1 tablespoon eggplant mixture, 1 lettuce leaf, 1 tomato slice, and top half of bun. (Reserve remaining eggplant mixture for another use.)

  • While sometimes I want to go the extra step of grinding my own meat, today was not one of those days.  I purchased 85% lean ground turkey from the store.  Don't let the foodies make you feel guilty about that.
  • I didn't make the eggplant topping.  I also didn't top the burgers with the tomato and lettuce.  If you're like me, you only need 1 lb of turkey, 1 tb. parsley, the eggplant, salt, pepper, and the marmite/soy sauce OR the Worcestershire. 
  • I topped mine with avocado, because avocado makes everything better.

If you make these or have a better recipe to share, let me know what you think by posting in the comments!

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