This turkey burger packs more flavor, has a more pleasing texture, and holds together better when cooked than others you might have had. To pull this off, I borrowed a trick from a mother. When she makes meatballs, she soaks bread cubes in half and half, then mixes them into the meat. Here this technique acts as a substitute for the fat in a beef burger, serving to keep the turkey burger soft and juicy. Juniper berries, thyme, garlic and shallots give the turkey a much-needed jolt of flavor. Serve the burgers on your favorite rolls, topped with traditional burger garnishes such as mayonnaise, onion and tomato.
- 2 cups diced day-old bread (crusts removed, ½-inch diced)
- ½ cup half and half
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced shallots
- ¼ teaspoon thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon ground dried juniper berries
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
- 8 ounces Fontina or aged Gouda cheese, cut into 4 slices
- 4 hamburger rolls
- Put the bread in a bowl and pour the half and half over it. Toss and let soak until the bread has absorbed the liquid, approximately 20 minutes.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the meat, egg, shallots, garlic, parsley, and thyme. Stir. Add the juniper berries, pepper and salt. Add the soaked bread and mix to combine, using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. Wet your hands and divide the mixture into 4 patties. Set the patties on a plate lined with plastic wrap (to prevent sticking). Better yet, set them on individual squares of wax or parchment paper.
- Preheat the broiler.
- You may need to do the following in batches: Heat the olive oil in a nonstick sauté pan set over medium heat. Add the patties and cook for 6 minutes per side, turning them carefully with a slotted spatula. Add more oil between batches if necessary.
- Place the burgers on a cookie sheet, top with the cheese and heat under the broiler until the cheese softens and begins to melt, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately in the hamburger rolls.