For those of us, who don’t eat beef or are trying to cut back, a good turkey burger is the holy grail. A burger made from ground turkey seems like a good idea, in theory. In practice, though, it is often quite similar to eating a flavorless hockey puck.
The problem with most turkey burgers is fat, or lack of it. Because turkey is a lean meat, it doesn’t have the fattiness of ground beef to keep it moist when being cooked and to make it flavorful on the bun. I’ve seen a lot of tricks to “fatten up” the turkey burger, but so far no recipe I have tried has lived up to its promise.
Until I tried the Cheddar and Tomato-Packed Turkey Burgers in Lynn Rossetto Kasper’s How to Eat Supper. I have been trying a lot of new recipes out of How to Eat Supper since I got the cookbook for Christmas, and while the results have been fairly uneven so far, there have been a few unmistakeable home runs, recipes that I star several times and will keep making for years. I think this will be one of those recipes, as it is the only turkey burger I have ever made that actually tastes like a burger, that remains moist, juicy and full-flavored after cooking.
There are two secrets. One is incorporating cooked onions and tomatoes into the burger patty itself, which adds moistness and flavor. The other is inserting a few cubes of cheddar cheese into the center of the burger, which adds fat. Not too much cheese — as that would overwhelm the burger and probably make a mess during cooking — but just enough to punch up the delicious factor and make you feel like you’re eating a real burger. Plus, there’s the nice surprise of biting into the burger and encountering a gooey pocket of cheese, rather than just melting a cheese slice on top.
I won’t reprint the recipe here, as they have already done so over at Serious Eats, so just head on over there to get a copy. Or pick up How to Eat Supper. This one’s a keeper.
Cooking notes: I recommend making the patties ahead of time and chilling for an hour or so to help them hold together better while cooking. This is not a burger for grilling. It just won’t survive. Pan-fry it instead in a little oil over medium-high to sear, then turn down the heat to medium and cover to finish cooking through. I froze the leftover patties with no problems.