Right around the time that Frank and I got our first apartment together in Atlanta, my gracious mother gifted us with access to her Costco membership. What an amazing (and dangerous) day that was. Why dangerous, you ask? Well, there’s no way to go into Costco without spending at least $100. No matter how much you tell yourself “I only need one item” or “I will not stop for free food samples” or “I’m not even going on that side of the store; I’m only going to the aisle I need”, you will inevitably do just those things and leave with an enormous cart full of things you weren’t planning on buying. It was one of our first trips to Costco together that we stumbled upon what Frank thought was a great steal – four packages of fresh ground turkey for an amazing price. I turned up my nose at such a “steal” immediately. At that point, I had never (and I’m not exaggerating here, I mean never) tried ground turkey in any way, shape, or form. It always seemed to me like the ugly stepsister of ground beef, and I had no idea why anyone would choose to eat a turkey burger instead of a regular beef patty. Well, that day Frank schooled me on the health benefits of ground turkey (a lowly fraction of what you find in good old 100% ground beef), and he promised me that if I would allow him to make me a turkey burger his way, I would love it. Well, he did, and I did. They’re definitely not quite as juicy or flavorful as a beef burger, and I don’t think I’d ever order one at a restaurant (side note – if you’re ever in Atlanta, you must go to Farm Burger; one bite of their burgers will change your life), but they’re healthy and truly delicious when made properly.
Before I found this recipe, we usually just seasoned our turkey burgers with salt and pepper, maybe some garlic powder, and then heaped them with any assortment of cheeses and condiments to mimic an authentic beef burger. After we made these spicy burgers, I don’t think we’ll ever go back to the old classic style. This is definitely a burger with a bite, but it’s not over the top, grab-a-glass-of-milk-and-chug spicy. The cilantro balances the spiciness of the chiles with an extremely fresh, vibrant flavor, and the minced onions give the burger a nice little crunch. Don’t even get me started on how amazing the Sriracha Aioli is…I think it’s my new go-to condiment that I will attempt to serve with everything. If you’re not interested in joining the turkey burger craze, feel free to try this recipe out with ground beef. I can’t vouch for the flavor profile, but I can’t imagine that it would be anything but delicious. This combination of herbs and spices makes for a complex, tangy, just-a-bit-spicy flavor that won’t disappoint.
1 ½ pounds fresh ground turkey [900 calories]
½ cup white onion, finely minced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons jalapeño or serrano chiles, finely chopped with seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 whole wheat sandwich buns [320 calories]
½ cup light mayonnaise [400 calories]
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce [15 calories] (you can find this in the Asian food section of most grocery stores)
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1garlic clove, finely minced
Zest of 1 lime
Calories per serving: 410 per burger
Heat a grill pan (or a real grill if you’re lucky enough to have one and the weather is nice) over medium heat. In a medium bowl, combine the ground turkey, onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño/serrano, coriander, cumin, paprika, and the ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
Use your hands to combine well. Form the mixture into four large patties, pressing down with your thumb in the middle a few times to create a depression (neat trick we learned from Rachael Ray that keeps your burgers from puffing up in the middle during cooking).
Generously season both sides of the patties with Kosher salt and more ground black pepper. Cook the burgers over medium heat until the internal temperature of the burgers is ~ 155 degrees F, about 8 minutes on each side.
While the burgers are cooking, combine the ingredients for the Sriracha Aioli in a small bowl and mix well. Season to taste with Kosher salt. If you feel so inclined, toast your sandwich buns while the burgers are cooking as well.
Serve the burgers on the toasted sandwich buns with about ½ tablespoon of the sriracha aioli spread on the inside of each top half of the buns. We served these with some good old frozen sweet potato fries, and there was plenty of Sriracha Aioli left over for dipping. Amazing!
This recipe is a combination of a burger and a sauce recipe from two different sources. The burger recipe is from the July 2012 issue of Bon Appétit magazine, and the Sriracha Ailoli is from Michael Symon’s show, Symon’s Suppers, appearing on The Cooking Channel. If you’d like the original recipes, they can be found here
Spicy Turkey Burgers
Fried Potatoes with Spicy Aioli.