Chiptole Turkey Burgers

July 17, 2008

Do you have recipes that have you convinced that the dish is healthy, virtuous, practically spa-worthy because it involves a certain ingredient? Because I’ve got tons of them. Come summer, the turkey burger is at the top of that list. Swap out the ground sirloin for ground turkey and, voila, you’re on a diet! Never mind the fact that the generous canopy of cheese, the giant bun and the smears of condiments remain. It’s a turkey burger: eat it with reckless abandon.

Teasing aside, I don’t just make these turkey burgers because they lessen the guilt. They also happen to be delicious. I’ve played around with the technique for a while (okay, fine, practically once a week, but who’s counting?) and I’ve come to a few conclusions. They are these: (1) do not overwork the meat; (2) add to the meat some minced onion or shallot as well as some flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, which will prevent the burgers from drying out; (3) account for shrinkage on the grill: shape your patties into rounds that are larger that the surface area of the buns you’re using; (4) cheese: use it, preferably a sharp or smoked cheddar.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

My current favorite version has a southwest flare: minced chipotles and cilantro in the burgers themselves, smoked cheddar, and a chipotle-flecked sauce (that kinda looks like “special sauce,” I know; but please trust that it’s tasty). You can see it peaking out beneath the bun in this photo, which was taken earlier this summer (and looks a little dizzy; sorry):

Give these a try at your next BBQ. You’ll thank me later: at least for making you feel virtuous.

Chipotle Turkey Burgers

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey breast
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper
4 slices of smoked cheddar
1 small red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rings
1 large tomato, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1 cup baby arugula or spinach
1/4 cup chipotle “ketchup” (recipe below)
Dijon mustard
4 hamburger buns (I usually use whole-wheat), split open

Prepare the grill.

Combine the turkey, shallot, garlic and cilantro, mixing gently with your hands (take care not to overwork). Score the meat into four equal portions and shape the portions into patties (make the patties slightly larger than the surface area of your buns). Sprinkle both sides of the patties with the salt and pepper. Grill the turkey burgers for 5 to 8 minutes per side, or until cooked through. When the burgers are almost done grilling, place a slice of cheese on top of each patty (the cheese will melt as the burgers finish grilling). Also place the buns, cut sides down, on the grill to toast; remove when lightly browned.

Serve the grilled patties and toasted buns along with the remaining fixings.

Chiptole “Ketchup”

1 chipotle pepper (canned in adobo sauce), minced
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from the canned chipotles)
2 tablespoone sour cream or Greek yogurt
juice of one lime
salt, to taste

Whisk together the chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, sour cream and lime juice in a small bowl. Add salt to taste. [Note: this mixture can be combined in a 1:1 ratio with ketchup for a more “ketchupy” result. As is, the recipe will yield more of a creamy chipotle spread. Just don’t want to mislead anyone with the recipe name …}

17 Responses to “Chiptole Turkey Burgers”

  1. eggsonsunday Says:

    Yum! I love turkey burgers; we’ve been having them too and I love the idea of chipotle mixed with sour cream for a sauce. Your photos are beautiful as always, Kristin – the light in that top one just *looks* like a summer evening!

  2. natalie Says:

    ohhh yum! i loooove turkey burgers! i’ll definitely have to try this one out! my husband and i always make the turkey cacciatore burgers from rachel ray’s recipe but this will definitely have to be included in our turkey recipes!!

  3. Chez US Says:

    GREAT looking photo and burger!

  4. sharon Says:

    This looks delicious. My husband “hates” ground turkey, but if I don’t tell him he sometimes can’t tell the difference 🙂 I just bought some ground turkey on sale, so I’m bookmarking this to make sometime next week!

  5. joythebaker Says:

    I love that this burger means that I’m on a diet! Brilliant! It’s gorgeous!

  6. Kelly Says:

    This is one of my favorite things to do–spice up ground turkey burger or chicken. I don’t eat beef, and many people complain that turkey burger is tasteless and dry, but not if you do it right!! Love chipotles, too. I’ll make this next week.

  7. Kevin Says:

    That burger sounds tasty!

  8. Dragon Says:

    I LOVE turkey burgers. Yours looks wonderful!

  9. grace Says:

    ah, you said the magic word–chipotle. i’m obsessed with all things chipotled and cilantroed (nice words, right?), so these burgers are now on the tip-top of my to-make list. the ketchup, too. awesome. 🙂

  10. Thanks, everyone! I hope you guys give this one a try.

    Joy: Yes, the turkey burger with lots of cheese diet is all the rage. I’ve been on it for quite some time.

    Kelly: I agree that turkey burgers should not be the least bit dry. You might have to put in a little more effort than with beef burgers, but it’s worth it.

    grace: As far as I’m concerned, chipotled and cilantroed are the kinds of words that Webster should include in his little “book.” They are my kind of words!

  11. Sarah Bell Says:

    Looks absolutely delicious!

  12. Donal Says:

    Love your take on the burger- definitely gonna give this a go!

  13. Aggie Says:

    Love turkey burgers and love chipotle! This sounds great!!

  14. joejhorn Says:

    Looks great. I recently did a turkey burger with Brioche bread and I used ricotta in the meat. Come check it out if you have the time. I really like the Chiptole “Ketchup” and will have to try that out!


  15. Sarah Bell: Thank you!

    Donal: I hope you do! Let us know how it goes.

    Aggie: Sounds like these are right up your alley then. Hope you give them a try.

    joejhorn: Thanks!

  16. Rishi Gupta Says:

    I tried this recipe to make some Turkey Burger sliders – they turned out amazing. I couldn’t find the Chipotles to make the Chipotle ketchup – so I just used regular ketchup. They still blew away any other turkey burgers I’ve made.

    The only modification I made was to add half an egg to the turkey breast when mixing it with the rest of the ingredients to better bind the ingredients together. But that may not be necessary.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Rishi Gupta: That’s great! I’ve tried the burgers with and without the egg and I don’t think it’s necessary. Ground turkey is usually pretty wet and cohesive. I’m so glad you liked them!

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