With the warm weather comes that urge to fire up the backyard grill. For a different take on a burger, try this turkey formula by chef and cookbook author Molly Stevens, which she created for Real Food. The secret ingredient? A bit of cottage cheese adds the richness and creaminess needed to transform lean ground turkey into five-star burgers that will satisfy any appetite, says Stevens. Crisp bacon, melted cheddar and a slather of special sauce don’t hurt either.
While you’re grilling burgers this season, keep Stevens’ helpful tips in mind:
- The goal when seasoning and shaping ground meat into burgers is to handle the meat gently and deftly without compressing since too much handling will result in tough, dry burgers.
- To avoid the tendency for burgers to puff up in the middle as they cook, make a small depression in the center of each patty just before grilling (with the exception of a cheese-stuffed burger).
- Don’t flip burgers any more than you have to (usually 2 to 3 times). Each time you flip, you release juices and risk having the burger fall apart.
- Don’t press down on the burgers as they cook; this only dries them out.
- Veggie, fish and turkey burgers are more delicate than beef and lamb burgers and require a little more care when flipping. A flat stainless-steel grill basket can provide extra insurance against sticking; just be sure it’s clean and hot before adding the burgers.
Turkey, Bacon and Cheddar Burgers
Makes 6 Burgers
1 cup cottage cheese, preferably whole milk
2 pounds lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ teaspoon dried thyme
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
canola or peanut oil, for grilling
For the Sauce:
½ cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons dill relish
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
dash vinegar or lemon juice, to taste
6 slices cheddar cheese
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and cut in half crosswise
6 soft hamburger rolls, preferably sesame or whole grain
ripe tomato slices, lettuce leaves, pickles (optional)
- Put the cottage cheese in a mixing bowl, and mash with a fork to create very fine curds. Add the turkey, breaking it into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Add the mustard, salt, thyme and pepper, and mix to incorporate without compressing the meat. Divide into 6 equal lumps, and shape into patties, each about 4½ inches across and ¾ inch thick. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
- Make the Sauce: Whisk together all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 days.
- Heat a grill to medium hot. Lightly coat the surface of the burgers with oil and grill, flipping 2 or 3 times, until almost cooked through, about 14 minutes. Top each with cheese, and continue cooking until the cheese is just melted, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Toast the hamburger rolls on the grill.
- Smear both inner sides of the rolls with sauce. Arrange burgers on the rolls, top with bacon and any additional toppings.
• Offer any extra sauce at the table or save it to dress up your next turkey or chicken sandwich.
• For a fresh take on a Tex-Mex turkey burger, substitute chili powder for dried thyme, swap in chipotle mayonnaise for the sauce, and add ripe avocado to your selection of toppings.
• Turkey burgers should be cooked all the way through. If you use an instant-read thermometer, the internal temperature should be 160°F.
Nutrition info Turkey, Bacon & Cheddar Burgers (Per Serving): Calories 683; Fat 44g (Sat. 12g); Chol 157mg; Sodium 1348mg; Carb 25g; Fiber 1g; Added Sugars 4g; Protein 46g