Spiced Up Turkey Burger and Fries

Posted on: Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We have to say that with all of our travels, there’s nothing like returning home to an All American burger. Whether you’re indulging in a juicy beef burger hot off the grill, or an extravagant veggie burger stocked with funky toppings, the first bite is pure bliss. Of course, the perfect sidekick to a burger is a big plate of hot, crispy, French fries with lots of tangy ketchup. In Kara’s ideal world, she would eat French fries everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Last summer, Marni came up with a grilled turkey burger that was juicy, spicy and bursting with flavor. Since ground turkey is a lean alternative to beef, it can often be dry. Keeping this in mind, Marni incorporated sautéed ingredients and extra seasonings into the ground meat. As we always do, we decided to take this recipe a step further by experimenting with the toppings. Instead of using the standard combination of tomato, lettuce, American cheese, and ketchup, we kicked it up with roasted tomatoes, arugula, Monterey Pepper Jack cheese, and spicy aioli.

For a French-fry inspired dish, we opted for a healthier alternative (but still tasty!- Kara will vouch for that) using roasted sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are seasonal and burst with a naturally sweet flavor, further amplified when roasted. We decided to toss them with a mix of vibrantly colored and balanced ingredients.

Turkey Burger

1 1/4 lb ground turkey
1/2 finely chopped red pepper
1 finely chopped small yellow onion
1/2 c BBQ sauce (choose your favorite, we love Dinosaur Bar-B-Que’s slathering sauce)
2 t grilling spice blend (one that includes ground cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic powder)
salt and pepper throughout
Monterey Pepper Jack cheese
4 roasted vine tomato halves
Firey Aioli
fresh rolls (we used Ciabatta)

Preheat a grill pan to medium-high heat. Sautee the onions and red peppers on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes until soft. Set aside to cool slightly. In a bowl, combine the ground turkey, barbecue sauce, sauteed veggies, spice blend, and salt and pepper. Divide the turkey mixture into four 1/2 inch thick patties. With your thumb, make a small indentation in the center of each burger, this will allow for even cooking. Grill the turkey burgers for approximately 5 minutes and then flip over for another 4 minutes. Place a slice of Monterey Pepper Jack cheese on each patty and cook for 1 minute longer until the cheese melts.

Roasted Vine Tomatoes

2 halved tomatoes
1 T honey
salt and pepper throughout

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the tomatoes with the other ingredients in a bowl and place each one onto a cookie sheet, skin side down. Roast for 50-60 minutes until shriveled, sizzling and the skin starts to peel back. You can make these ahead of time, and use them warm or cold on the burgers.

Fiery Aioli

1 c mayonnaise
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 t smoked paprika
5 shakes of Tabasco sauce (feel free to use more if you like extra spice!)
1/4 t minced garlic
salt and pepper throughout

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. You can make this days in advance.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Dried Cranberries, Pecans, and Arugula

2 t EVOO
3 sweet potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes
1 c dried cranberries
1 c chopped toasted pecans
4 c arugula
salt and pepper throughout

Honey Lime Dressing
2 T lime juice
2 T honey
1/4 c EVOO
salt and pepper throughout

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the EVOO, salt and pepper and arrange on a lined baking sheet. Cook for 30 minutes until slightly browned and soft. Set aside to cool. In a large salad bowl, combine the arugula, cranberries and pecans. Add the sweet potatoes. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and drizzle over the salad. Serves 4 sides.

The assembly is essential for the ultimate burger. We suggest: bottom roll, a dollop of aoli, turkey patty, melted Monterey Pepper Jack cheese, roasted tomato, arugula, drizzle of aioli, top roll. Enjoy!


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