If you’re looking for something to make this weekend, look no further! A turkey burger on a brioche bun is where it’s at. Now I know what you’re thinking… Can I really advocate making burgers in the middle of the winter? Aren’t burgers best in the middle of the summer? Well, yes I can; and why would you ever say no to a well-cooked, juicy burger–winter, spring, summer or fall?! While I do love a beef burger cooked over a nice charcoal grill (sorry vegetarians!), I am convinced that pan-searing and then oven baking is a superior method for turkey burgers. Who needs salmonella? Not me!
Last night, as part of my Jerusalem-inspired mediterranean week, I made these deliciously spiced turkey burgers. The combination of flavors–cayenne pepper, cumin, cinammon, cilantro and mint–when combined with a healthy portion of ketchup, give this dish a definite exotic flair of deliciousness. It’s almost vietnamese tasting. In fact, I could imagine using this combination in a nice beef broth soup in a variation of Pho. Biting into this burger was a fat boy’s heaven. Buried in the middle were a few thin slices of dried fig–a sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet surprise.
To top it all off, I chees-fied these babies with some raclette, which is a smooth, swiss cheese that melts nicely and has a rich jarlesberg flavor. But wait, there’s more! This mouth-watering middle-eastern delight was laid carefully on a beautifully browned, amazingly fluffy, homemade brioche bun. And, I, dear friends, am going to show you how I did it all so your guests can go bonkers, like mine did.
Now to prepare for the best dinner of your life, you’ll want to get started in the early afternoon making the brioche dough. Don’t be intimidated by the word brioche. Embrace its deliciousness. B-r-i-o-ch-e. The brioche dough will take a quick 15 minutes to prepare, but then you will have to let it sit for the next 3 hours and allow it to rise. Following the first rise, you will form the buns and allow them to rise for another 1 1/2 before cooking for 15-20 minutes. The good news is that this turkey burger recipe should only take you about 30 minutes to prepare, so you can get started as you pop the buns in the oven and be ready in time to serve them on just-out-of-the-oven buns.
To make the buns, first preheat the oven to 425 F and gather your ingredients on your tray, or ma place, like my mother likes to call it. Here’s mine:
First grate the zucchini (coursely, not finely). Chop the whites of 3 scallions, chop the mint and cilantro(you’ll need about 2tbsps each), and crush 2 cloves of garlic(crush them well-no huge chunks should be left). Gather about 6 tbsps of olive oil and set aside.
Using your hands, place the raw turkey meat into a medium-to-large sized mixing bowl. Add in the salt, pepper, spices, and all of the chopped up vegetables. Delicately combine the ingredients with the meat. Crack an egg into a separate bowl. Beat the egg and then add to the mixture making sure to coat the turkey and vegetables with the egg. Form into small burgers (meatball-sized/just bigger than a golf ball). The balls may feel very eggy. You may also think there are far too many vegetables in the mixture. Don’t worry, this is how mine were too!
Place the balls onto a cookie sheet and form small divits in the middle of the balls. Place 1 or 2 slives of fig in the middle and close the burgers.
Add the olive oil to a medium sized frying pan. Pay no attention to the “6 tbsp” in the recipe. You will need to use your best judgement here. You will need enough oil in the pan to fully cover the bottom with about 2mm of oil (this is more than I would normally use for searing fish or other ingredients).
Sear the burgers on all sides (top and bottom) for about 4 minutes. Remove the turkey burgers from the pan and place onto a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or with parchment paper. Place into the oven for 5-7 minutes (I cooked mine for 7 and they were moist and delicious). Remove from the oven and get the burgers ready for plating.
oops! this first one has a mega hunk of garlic in it. But we like garlic, so that’s ok😉
If you’d like cheese burgers, lay a small slice of cheese over the burger right when they come out of the oven and watch it melt before assembling your burger.
- 1 lb Raw turkey meat
- 1 large zucchini coarsely grated
- 3 green onions (sliced)
- 2 tbps chopped mint
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 5 dried figs
- 1tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 egg
- 6 tbsp of olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425 F
- Combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl, making sure to coat the mixture with the egg
- Form into small burgers (around 10) and place onto a cookie sheet or other hard surface
- Form a divit in the middle of each burger and place 1-2 fig slices inside. Close the burger.
- Add the oil to a frying pan over medium heat.
- Sear the turkey burgers. Flipping over to make sure all sides are browned. 4 minutes total.
- Place onto a silpat or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and pop into the oven for 5-7 minutes.
- As the burgers come out of the oven, place a small slice of cheese over the top and watch it melt.
- Serve and enjoy!