Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Recipe for Grilled Middle Eastern Turkey Burgers with Yogurt Sauce

Grilled Middle Eastern Turkey Burgers with Yogurt SauceIf there's anyone reading this who just turned their nose up a bit at the mention of turkey burgers, stay with me here for a minute. While it's true that ground turkey can sometimes be a little ho-hum, these turkey burgers with finely chopped mint and parsley and seasoned with an interesting mix of paprika, cumin, coriander, and pepper flakes were moist and flavorful. I actually had the leftovers for breakfast and again for lunch the day after I made them, which is a pretty high recommendation in a house like mine where the fridge is always packed with interesting things to eat. I found this recipe in the latest issue of Fine Cooking Grilling, a special publication from the folks at Fine Cooking Magazine. Fine Cooking has been my favorite cooking magazine for a few years now, and I've consistently been wowed by recipes I try from there.

I ate the turkey burgers wrapped inside Whole Grain Flatout Flatbread, cutting the large flatbreads in half to make a piece just the right size for the smallish burger patties I made. I served them with a dollop of Tzatziki Sauce enhanced with some freshly chopped mint and parsley. I thought that was the perfect sauce to go with the flavor of the turkey burgers, but if you don't want to go to the trouble of making Tzatziki, I have a few quicker sauce recommendations after the recipe.

Take the ground turkey out of the package and break into pieces in a bowl, then let it come to room temperature on the counter while you chop the herbs and measure spices. Mix garlic and salt and sprinkle over the meat.

Use your hands to gently mix in the garlic, salt, olive oil, chopped mint, and chopped parsley. If you're making this for young kids who are suspicious of green bits in their food, you might want to chop the herbs even more finely than I did.

I wanted to be sure the interesting mix of spices were evenly distributed in the meat without over-mixing, so I sprinkled each spice over the surface of the meat as I measured it. Then when all the spices had been added, I mixed with my hands, just enough to combine.

The recipe in Fine Cooking called for four patties, but for 1 1/2 lbs. of meat, I went with six smaller patties. First I divided the mixture into six balls so I could get them close to the same size. (Next time I'd put a piece of cling-wrap on the cutting board!)

Then I flattened and shaped each burger on a cutting board. You need to chill the patties for a bit before you grill them, so use a cutting board that's small enough to fit into the fridge. I covered it with cling-wrap, but it's probably not essential. I chilled them about 30 minutes, but next time I might chill a bit longer to help the meat stay together on the grill.

Even though the mixture had a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, I brushed the top of each patty with olive oil, then put that side down on the grill. (I have a brand new natural gas grill with cast iron grids, and the grids aren't that well seasoned yet, so if your grill is well-seasoned you might not need to do this.)

Grill the patties over medium heat, about 5-6 minutes per side. If you want to get the grill marks like I have, rotate them after a few minutes on the first side.


Grilled Middle Eastern Turkey Burgers with Yogurt Sauce
(Makes 4 large or 6 medium turkey burgers, recipe slightly adapted from Fine Cooking Grilling Volume 2.)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
1 tsp. finely minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp. salt (I used fine sea salt)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (I used curly parsley, but either type will work)
2 T olive oil
2 tsp. sweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin (recipe called for 1 tsp., but I love cumin so I used a bit more)
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. Aleppo pepper (recipe called for cayenne, and any type of ground red pepper would work)

Instructions:
Remove ground turkey from the fridge and break into pieces in a bowl, then let it come to room temperature on the counter while you chop the herbs. Mix together the minced garlic and salt and sprinkle over the surface of the ground turkey. Chop mint and parsley and add to bowl, add the 2 T olive oil, then use your hands to gently mix the garlic, salt, chopped mint, chopped parsley, and olive oil into the meat. One at a time, measure specified amounts of sweet paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander, and Aleppo pepper and sprinkle over the surface of the meat, then mix again with your hands, just enough to combine mixture and distribute spices. (Don't overmix.)

Put a piece of cling-wrap on a small cutting board and divide the meat into 4 or 6 same-sized balls, then flatten each ball into a patty and smooth the edges. Cover patties with another piece of cling-wrap if desired, and refrigerate 30 minutes or longer. (The recipe says refrigerate up to 4 hours, and next time I'd chill for at least an hour.)

Use a paper towel to wipe surface of grill with olive oil, then heat charcoal or gas grill to medium heat. (You can hold your hand over the grill for 3-4 seconds at that temperature.) When grill is hot, remove patties from the fridge and brush the top of each one with olive oil if desired. (You may not need to do this if your grill is well-seasoned.) Put oiled side down on grill grate and grill with lid closed. If you want criss-cross grill marks, check after about 4 minutes, and rotate patties. Cook about 5-6 minutes per side, or until temperature of patties reaches 165 F /75C when tested with an instant-read thermometer.

Burgers can be served plain, on a regular hamburger bun, or inside pita or flatbread like I did. I served my burgers with Tzatziki Sauce that had some added chopped mint and parsley. You could also serve these with Yogurt Tahini Sauce, Creamy Cucumber Sauce, Tartar Sauce, Ranch-Style Dip, or even Cafe Rio Style Creamy Tomatillo Dressing.


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South Beach Suggestions:
Served plain with any of the sauces listed above, these low-glycemic turkey burger patties would be good for any phase of the South Beach Diet. Served inside a whole wheat pita, flatbread or bun, they would be suitable for phase 2 or 3. I think this would taste great with Tomato, Cucumber, and Radish Salad with Yogurt-Tahini Dressing or Cucumber and Yogurt Salad with Feta and Dill.

More Tasty Ideas with Ground Turkey
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Asian Lettuce Cups (or Wraps) with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling from Kalyn's Kitchen
Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos with Chiles, Cumin, Cilantro, Lime, and Tomato-Avocado Salsa from Kalyn's Kitchen
Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs from Kalyn's Kitchen
Turkey and White Bean Chili with Chocolate from Kalyn's Kitchen
Mom's Ground Turkey with Peppers from Simply Recipes
Jalapeno Cheddar Turkey Burger from Life's Ambrosia
Thai Laab Salad from Use Real Butter
Curried Turkey Meatballs from The Perfect Pantry
Grilled Stuffed Turkey Burgers from Christine Cooks
Salsa Verde Turkey Burgers from Prudence Pennywise
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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41 comments:

  1. Delicious -- and beautiful photos of the finished burgers that make me want to lick my computer screen! I can see why you'd be glad to have leftovers for breakfast, too. This will be a great way to use some of the mint from my garden.

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  2. I love turkey burgers! Maybe some people have not-so-great experiences with turkey burgers because they try to make them just like beef burgers, but I love using the turkey as a base for different spices, cheeses, etc and mine always come out so moist and flavorful. Two of my favorite turkey burgers are a Greek-flavored burger with feta and mint and my Thai peanut turkey burgers!

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  3. Kalyn, these sound like my kind of burgers! I use eggwhites to hold them together instead of chilling them in the refrigerator. I'm not sure if that is an option for you.

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  4. These sound wonderful! I can't wait to try them!

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  5. Lydia, thanks! I guess third time is the charm because my first two attempts to take photos were dismal. Good thing I had leftovers and didn't mind eating them each time I warmed some to take another photo! So tasty!

    Cara, love the sound of those options.

    Manisha, thanks so much for that tip. I actually had that thought (about adding an egg, but eggwhites would be even better.) I wondered how it would work on the grill; glad to know it is ok.

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  6. Mmm... now that's what I call a turkey burger.

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  7. Kalyn, I love this!! I've recently been crazy about a turkey burger that has diced green chilies mixed in. They are incredible. Same concept as yours, turkey burgers need flavor and something to keep them moist. I'm definitely going to give this Middle Eastern version a try.

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  8. Very nice alternative burger! Lovely and one of my favorite profiles (gyro style).

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  9. This recipe sounds delicious! I recently made a similar turkey recipe for gyros. Just sliced the turkey patties and added cucumbers and tomatoes and yogurt sauce and ate them with flatbread. These turkey burgers are going in my "must make" file!

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  10. I couldn't agree more - turkey burgers can be absolutely delicious if cooked the right way. I make some that are perfectly juicy and full of flavor.

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  11. Thanks for the recipe; I am always looking for new ways to use ground turkey. Those flavors sound so intriguing together too.

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  12. I LOVE turkey burgers, especially flavored ones. My favorite that I make are infused with salsa verde, cumin and chili powder. I also love them stuffed with cheese. These look fantastic!

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  13. This looks wonderful, Kalyn - and a nice change from the ground turkey mixture I always make - many thanks!

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  14. Oh my! This is definitely going on my "must try" list this week! They look and sound delicious.

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  15. I adore anything with a middle eastern flare. Will definitely try these out.

    You might like my kofte meatballs inspired by Lebanese cuisine.

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  16. I love turkey burgers. That's the only kind we make at home, bec my hubby doesn't eat read meat.

    In addition to spices and herbs, I often add crumbled feta cheese in the mix, and/or sauteed onions/mirepoix, or pureed veggies (ex. drained gazpacho leftover)I have on hand. Maybe no-no on South Beach diet, but I add breadcrumbs/panko too. All of these make turkey burgers moist and flavorful as well.
    Like Manisha, I also use egg to hold them togehter (bec. I'm always short on time!)

    In Japan, where I grew up, we always stretch (expensive) meat by adding veggies/bread crumbs, resulting in more flavor, fluffier texture and variety of nutrition.

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  17. I'm with you on ground turkey, Kalyn. I always have some in my freezer. This is a great recipe. Thanks so much for the link!

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  18. Thanks everyone for all the turkey burger ideas. Sounds like there might be a lot more ground turkey fans than I ever realized!

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  19. The beginning of your post made me laugh as I turned up my nose! LOL They do look wonderful and the patties include so many of my favorite ingredients :) Love how they look in the flat breads too!

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  20. I LOVE turkey burgers and totally agree that if you cook them right they are incredible- just as yours sound! I cant wait to try! I love that your used a wrap to eat!

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  21. saw this on photograzing. looks yummy.

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  22. Thanks everyone, do hope you will try it. I absolutely loved how this turned out. One of my neighbors has already tried it and liked it!

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  23. Those turkey burgers look good! Using turkey is always a nice change for burgers.

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  24. This has got to be an omen! I've been looking around on the web for something new and interesting to grill and your turkey burgers with yogart sauce is the 2nd such recipe I've run across. The other recipe called for the finished meat to be wrapped in lettuce leaves. Will most certainly try both versions. Thanks for the post.

    Lea Ann

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  25. hi, they were great- but I am wondering about the done-ness temperature? I used only turkey breast meat, and they were cooked well before my thermometer reached that temp...?

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  26. Hard to say, but I'm guessing the leaner breast meat will cook a bit more quickly. Also maybe your patties were thinner? I wouldn't worry about it, I'd just eat then when they're cooked through.

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  27. Thanks for loving us Kalyn. . .We love you too!
    - Robyn from www.FineCooking.com.

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  28. Robyn, thanks! That makes my day. I'm not exaggerating at all, I love every recipe I try from Fine Cooking and always mention it as my #1 food magazine!

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  29. I made this for dinner two nights ago, and it was so good! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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  30. Nalene, you're welcome, happy to hear you liked it!

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  31. I can't figure out how this recipe & many others on your blog qualify as South Beach Phase 1. You are not allowed to use regular ground turkey (supposed to be ground turkey breast only). Also I've never seen "legal" turkey sausages. The packaged ones like Shady Brook Farms or The Turkey Store, that come in 5 link packages and are available in hot or sweet are also made with regular ground turkey (higher fat content) not ground turkey breast, and therefore aren't allowed on phase one.

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  32. Ellen, I buy low-fat ground turkey and I'm going by the general guideline to use meats that have less than 10% fat and 4.5% saturated fat, which is listed under beef in the newest book, South Beach Diet Supercharged. The ground turkey I buy (frozen packs at Costco) has 7 grams of fat and 2 grams saturated fat in 4 oz. turkey, so even if it's not 100% turkey breast, it's pretty low in fat.

    For turkey sausage, I buy Jenni O Turkey Italian Sausage"which is also under the limit.

    I do try to be careful to make a note in the recipe when it's a little higher in fat and consider those kinds of things to be a "once in a while treat". I admit, the fat guidelines are the hardest part of dieting for me, but I try try to be conscious of them.

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  33. These look awesome and I have access to ground kosher turkey. Do you have a recipe or recommendation for a non-dairy dip to serve with these burgers?

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  34. ~M if you don't want dairy, I'd probably go with some type of salsa.

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  35. I've loved this recipe, sometimes I've added some finely minced (almost pureed) onions, or switched the sweet paprika with smoked, but it's always great. I've even made these into meatballs and grilled them, they keep good in the freezer that way and then make a great quick protein addition to top a salad of spinach, tomatoes and feta that I can quickly throw together in the morning for a great work week lunch.

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  36. So glad to hear you have been enjoying the recipe so much!

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  37. Hi Kalyn! I was wondering if this meat recipe could be browned much like you would taco meat? You know, instead of making patties they could be more like Greek tacos and the meat is stuffed in a pita.

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  38. Carebear, I'm not entirely sure what will happen to all the fresh herbs in the meat if it's browned like that (the herbs might burn or get over-cooked.) Also turkey often releases water when it's cooked on the stovetop (which doesn't happen on a grill.) I do like the sound of it, but truthfully I am just not sure how it will work. You could brown the patties and then break them apart when they're partly cooked; that might work better.

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  39. Thanks for the quick response! Pics was thinking the same thing about the herbs. The crumble idea is good!

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  40. I'm not always that quick, but sometimes I just happen to be on the computer! Let me know how it turns out!

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