Monday, December 5, 2011

Spicy Cheese-Stuffed Turkey Burgers

I love turkey burgers. Eric loves hamburgers. Since I don't eat red meat, I had to come up with a turkey burger that Eric would love too. Eric is usually a good sport; he'll try anything once. But if he doesn't like it, there's rarely any revisiting that food. So I knew if I was going to get him to eat turkey burgers, they'd have to be damn good. In the world of Eric that means spicy and cheesy.

I'm not very good at making and cooking the patties so that always falls to Eric. Look at how perfect his turn out.
20 ounces (1.25 pounds) of lean ground turkey
1/3 cup salsa
3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers, shredded
1-2 Serrano peppers, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a large bowl, mix meat, salsa, cheese, peppers, and black pepper together. Form into about five patties that have 3/4-inch thickness. Heat your pan and cook over medium-high heat, about five minutes on each side, until thoroughly cooked. Serve on buns with ketchup, mustard lettuce, tomato, or onion. Eric likes to add a slice of cheddar cheese to his burgers.

My Education In Burger-Making:
I first starting playing around with ground turkey and turkey burgers three or four years ago. Since I didn't eat red meat, I didn't have any experience with how to make a burger, so I always left the patty making up to Eric. However, this time around he decided it was time to learn because this is what my burgers looked like:
Wrong thickness and falling apart. So here is what Eric taught me. Scoop up a good handful of meat. Form it into a patty, working with it until you hands warms up the meat a bit because this makes the patty stick together better. He likes the burgers with about a 3/4-inch thickness. Then he slaps the burger down into a hot skillet. Don't press down on the burger with the spatula right away or else you'll lose all the juices. Instead, wait a minute or two so the bottom of the burger cooks and seals in those juices. Let the patty cook for five or six minutes until the edges of the burger look cooked. You don't want to have to flip the burger more than once (something I'm terribly guilty of). Again, once you flip the burger, don't press down on it with the spatula right away. Cook that side for about five minutes then remove from heat.

We'll see how well I'll do the next time.

It's really easy to take the spice up or down a notch with these burgers. For less spicy burgers use mild salsa and leave out the Serrano peppers. If you like things super spicy, add hot salsa and two chopped up peppers. We usually take the middle road--medium salsa and one pepper. Though the super spicy burgers are a nice change from time to time.

Also, instead of shredding the Monterey Jack cheese, you can cut it into little cubes so when you bite into the burger, you get a little burst of cheese. I prefer my burgers this way. Eric likes them with the shredded cheese. Plus, since Kraft now makes shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers, it's easier to make them with shredded cheese.

Eric's lunch: turkey burger, snowflake tortilla chips, and salsa.


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