Greek Turkey Burgers with Roasted Pepper Feta Spread

Chow on 01.12.10
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Normally, the thought of a turkey burger just wouldn't excite me because there just isn't enough fat in ground turkey to create that "juicy" effect. Because what's the point of making burgers if they don't dribble down your chin?

Last week, I saw a Greek burger recipe in How To Roast a Lamb: New Greek Classic Cooking by Michael Psilakis that called for ground lamb, and after spying the exorbitant prices of ground lamb at the market, I grabbed a package of ground turkey instead.

This recipe is a winner - and the burger? absolutely dribble-down-the-chin because of this:

The secret ingredient is the addition of the caramelized, chopped onions (top right)

Secret ingredient #2 is the Roasted Bell Pepper Feta Spread that you will make over and over again - this is a versatile spread/dip great for vegetables, spreading on sandwiches, dipping potato chips in, etc. You can use fresh roasted bell pepper or just the bottled variety. Other ingredients include caramelized onions, parsley, dried oregano, feta and a couple of whole pepperoncini to give it a touch of zing.

Greek Turkey Burger Recipe

makes 4 burgers
recipe adapted from How To Roast a Lamb: New Greek Classic Cooking by Michael Psilakis

2 Spanish or sweet onions, cut into thick 1/4" slices
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (1/4 tsp table salt)
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pound ground turkey (or ground chicken, pork, beef or lamb)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
4 kaiser rolls or hamburger buns
Roasted Pepper and Feta Spread (below)

1. Heat a grill pan or frying pan over medium-high heat. Brush the onion slices with oil and grill/saute the onions until very tender, flipping the slices halfway. The longer you cook, the sweeter the onion will taste. Take 1/4 of the onions and finely chop. Reserve the remaining onions as rings to top the burger.

2. In a large bowl, combine the chopped onions, salt, pepper, ground turkey, Dijon mustard, coriander, parsley, garlic and cumin. Use your hands to mix thoroughly. Divide the mixture in 4 and shape into patties. With your fingers press down gently in the center of each patty to make a slight depression in the middle (the center of patty rises during cooking, so making a depression in middle will ensure an even patty).

3. Heat a grill pan or frying pan over high heat. Brush the burger with a little bit of olive oil. When the pan is hot, grill the patties for 2 minutes. Flip the patties and grill another 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low, cover the pan and cook until the patties are cooked through, about 3-5 minutes, depending on how thick your patties are, what protein you use and how done you like your burgers. I suggest cooking pork, turkey and chicken all the way through.

4. Serve with the burger buns, Roasted Pepper and Feta Spread and the reserved grilled onions.


Roasted Pepper and Feta Spread Recipe (Htipiti)

This traditional spread resembles a Greek romano. It goes well with just about anything and is wonderful on its own as a dipping agent for crudites or potato chips. You can use it anywhere you'd use an aioli.

Makes 1 quart

1/2 Spanish or sweet onion, thickly sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 fire-roasted red bell peppers, home roasted or store-bought, cut into strips
2 pepperoncini (canned pickled yellow peppers), sliced
1/2 teaspoon dry Greek oregano
2 pinches ground coriander
2 pinches ground cumin
4 small picked sprigs parsley
[optional: 4 small picked sprigs dill; 1 tablespoon snipped chives or scallion greens, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest]

1. Heat a frying pan or grill pan. Brush the onion slices with olive oil. Saute/grill the onions until tender and slightly char-marked. Separate into rings.

2. In a food processor, combine all the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Taste for seasoning, but be careful not to add too much salt, as the feta is very salty.