I went home recently to St. Louis to spend some time with my family. We were drinking pinot noir on the patio, enjoying one of the final nights of summer, and catching up on the adventures of each other’s lives. After a couple glasses of vino, we stumbled upon an interesting topic of conversation: What would you choose for your last meal on earth?
Wine leads to these deep philosophical discussions…..
After careful consideration and another sip of my wine, I had my answer.
My parents were a bit surprised. They questioned why I wouldn’t choose something fancier, like a steak. They joked that I never seemed to pass up filet mignon when I am visiting……while true (I mean who doesn’t order steak when their parents are footing the bill?!?), if I had only one last meal, I would choose a burger.
I absolutely love burgers. There is just something irresistible about this all American classic. The juicy, meaty patty, soft pillowy bun, gooey, melted cheese, plus an assortment of fresh, flavorful toppings. How can you not love a burger?
Burgers are also so versatile. They are a blank canvas that you can put your own fun, creative mark on. You can keep it classic. Switch it up with different cheeses or spices. Use a variety of different ground meats, besides just hamburger. Or even upgrade your toppings. The possibilities are endless!
Since it is the final weekend of summer, my husband and I decided to grill out, and burgers were on the menu. This time, I decided to give the burgers a Mexican spin. Poblano peppers I picked up at the farmer’s market served as the inspiration. My creation:
Roasted poblano turkey burgers with pepper jack cheese, grilled onions, and guacamole.
Mouth watering? I know! They are as good as they sound, I promise!
The first step in making these burgers is roasting your poblano peppers. This may seem intimidating, but fear not. It is actually very simple. Here are a few methods:
- If you have a gas stove top, you can turn a burner to low, and place the pepper on the grates above the flame. Allow the pepper to char, about 10 minutes per side.
- If you don’t have a gas burner, no worries! You just need to toss the peppers in olive oil and bake the peppers at 500 degrees, for about 30 minutes, or until the peppers are browned and blistered.
- Finally, you can also stick the peppers under a boiler for 5 to 7 minutes, tossing them as they cook, so they are blackened on all sides.
This is how they should look when you are done charring:
Immediately place the charred peppers in a zip lock back and let sit for 15 minutes. This allows for easy removal of the blackened outer skin. Once the peppers have rested (and cooled slightly), remove from the bag and rub off the outer skin with a paper towel or sharp knife. Dice the peppers.
Roasting the peppers is a critical step as it softens the peppers and gives the burger a nice smoky flavor!
Time to make the burger patties. I decided to go with ground turkey for my burgers as it has less fat and calories than hamburger and I wanted to make a healthier burger. I also thought the light flavor of the turkey meat would let the roasted poblano flavor shine.
My mom is convinced that turkey burgers are always dry and flavorless. I bet many of you have had that same experience. To be honest, I have had plenty of bad turkey burgers! However, I have learned a few tricks you can use to keep your turkey burgers juicy and flavorful!
First, you need to choose the right ground turkey, meat to fat ratio. I choose 93% lean, 7% fat. I used to always use 99% lean turkey and it lead to a very dry, dense burger. Problem is the 99% lean turkey meat barely has any fat. And you need some fat if you want a juicy burger patty. You can even opt for a higher fat content, but I stick with the 93% lean to keep it lower in calorie and the burgers still turn out moist and delicious.
Next tip for a great turkey burger is adding a lot of spices. Turkey meat doesn’t have a lot of flavor on its own. It is begging for some lovin! For my poblano turkey burgers, I used garlic powder, onion powder, ancho chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. I also threw in my roasted, diced poblano peppers. Finally, to bind the burgers so they don’t turn into a crumbly mess when you cook them, I used panko bread crumbs.
Gently mix all of the ingredients together. Be careful not to over-mix. Press and combine just enough to evenly distribute the spices with the meat. Too much mixing compacts the meat together and makes the burger dense and heavy. Separate the burger meat into four equal size balls. Form each ball into a patty by pressing the mixture between your hands and gently pressing your hands around the meat until you get the desired shape.
The final step is cooking the patties. My last tip: Don’t over cook the burger patties! This will also lead to a VERY dry and unpleasant burger. You can grill the burgers outside or cook them in a cast iron skillet inside. Either way, make sure to only cook the burgers for 5-6 minutes on each side. If you are adding cheese (which obviously you should because gooey, melted cheese is a must for a yummy burger), flip the burgers, and after 2 minutes, add the slices of cheese to each patty. Now dome your burger (place a metal bowl or a lid of a sauté pan on top the burger patties). This dome taps in the heat and allows the cheese to melt perfectly around the patty. For my poblano turkey burgers, I used pepper jack cheese for a extra spicy kick!
Once the burgers are cooked, you can assemble the burgers with your favorites toppings. Staying with my Mexican theme, I topped the poblano turkey burgers with fresh guacamole (mine has lots of lime juice!) and grilled red onions. My husband used a buttery brioche bun (honestly, who doesn’t love a brioche bun!). I decided to go bunless, which was just as good because these burgers are packed with so much flavor. The burger patty is juicy, the poblanos and ancho chili powder give the burgers a subtle spicy kick, the melted pepper jack cheese provides extra spice and richness, and the fresh guac rounds it all out with a fresh, citrusy note.
If you have ever been a non-turkey burger lover, use my tips and try this burger! It will turn you in to a turkey burger believer! And you will know why I have such a deep appreciation for burgers.
I <3 Burgers! And you will see many more burger recipes on the blog!
Poblano Turkey Burgers
Poblano Turkey Burgers
- 1-pound ground turkey (93% fat free)
- 1/3 cup panko
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 2 poblanos, roasted, deskinned, seeded, and chopped (directions below)
- ½ tsp ancho chili powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 T olive oil
- 4 slices of pepper jack cheese
- Bib lettuce, guacamole, and grilled onions for topping
- Pre-heat broiler. Place the poblanos on a baking sheet and broil for 5-7 minutes or until blackened, turning after 4 minutes. Place the charred peppers in a zip-lock bag, seal, and let sit for 15 minutes. Peel chilies, discard seeds and membranes, and dice. Set aside. For additional methods to char peppers, see above.
- In a bowl, add turkey meat, diced peppers, spices, and panko. Gently mix the meat so the spices, peppers, and panko crumbs are well-combined. Be careful not to over mix as burgers will become dense.
- Divide the meat into 4 balls. Form into patties.
- Cook the patties in a cast iron skillet with olive oil or grill the patties for 5-6 minutes a side.
- For grilled onions, toss ring shaped cut onions with olive oil salt and pepper, and place in foil packet, and sit foil packet on grill to let cook for about 10 minutes, until onions soften and start to caramelize (if cooking your patties inside, you can place the foil packet in 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes)
- After 3 minutes in after flipping the patties, add the cheese slices to each burger. Place a metal bowl or large skillet over the burgers to create a dome around the patties so the cheese evenly melts.
- Take off the heat and let the burgers rest for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, if using a bun, spread butter on both sides of the bun, and place both buns bottom side down on the hot surface for 3 minutes or until toasted and browned.
- Build your burgers by placing patties on bottom portion of the bun, add fresh guac, grilled onions, and bib lettuce, and top portion of the bun.
- Serve and enjoy!