Veggies boost burger’s moisture

  • By Jim Romanoff Associated Press
  • Thursday, October 10, 2013 8:26pm
  • Life

Many people mistakenly assume turkey burgers are lean.

But depending on the variety of ground turkey used, you can end up with more than 15 grams of fat in a 4-ounce portion. You can buy ground turkey that is 99 percent lean, but you’ll end up with dry, flavorless burgers.

A good compromise is 93 percent lean ground turkey, which has about 8 grams of fat per serving. It’s enough to keep the burgers moist and flavorful, but lean enough to include in a healthy diet.

Of course, as with any meat, less fat means less flavor, so you’ll want a strategy for compensating for these losses. Think meatloaf.

By mixing in chopped vegetables — such as onions, mushrooms and celery — fresh or dried herbs and a wet component, say ketchup or mustard, you will not only boost the flavor, but also add back much-needed moisture.

Consider adding breadcrumbs or quick cooking oats, too. They not only stretch the meat (which cuts the total fat per serving), but also help retain moisture.

This robustly flavored stout and onion turkey burger uses caramelized sweet onions and a reduction of intense, dark beer combined with zesty mustard and dried thyme to enhance ground turkey. Use this same flavor base to make excellent meatloaf or meatballs.

If you like, you can top the burger with some tangy, extra-sharp cheddar cheese, which makes a perfect foil for the assertiveness of the stout. By using extra-sharp cheddar you can get away with using a full-fat cheese because just a little adds a lot of flavor.

Serve these burgers with a side of sweet potato fries and a few crunchy pickle spears.

Stout and onion turkey burger

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 cup chopped Vidalia onion

1 cup Guinness or other stout

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pound 93 percent lean ground turkey

1 cup panko (Japanese-style) breadcrumbs

1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (optional)

4 whole-wheat hamburger buns or other small wheat bread

In a medium saucepan over medium, heat the oil. Add the onions and saute until softened and slightly golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the stout and increase heat to high. Boil the mixture until reduced by two-thirds and making syrupy bubbles, about 20 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl to cool for 20 minutes.

Heat a gas grill to medium-high or prepare a charcoal fire.

Add the mustard, thyme, salt and pepper to the onion mixture. Add the ground turkey and breadcrumbs. Gently but thoroughly combine. Shape into 4 patties, about 3/4-inch thick.

To oil the grill grates, wet a folded paper towel with oil, hold it with tongs and rub it over the grates.

Grill the burgers until well browned on the underside, 4 to 5 minutes. With a spatula, turn the burgers carefully. Grill 4 to 6 minutes more, or until the burger registers 165 F at the center. Top with cheese, if using, during the last minute of grilling. Meanwhile, toast the buns at the edge of the grill. Serve the burgers on the toasted buns.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 468 calories; 131 calories from fat; 15 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 73 mg cholesterol; 49 g carbohydrate; 32 g protein; 5 g fiber; 966 mg sodium.

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