Turkey Burger

Chef Richard 4 Servings 30 minutes

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.