Turkey Burgers au Poivre

1-1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
1 tsp. (or less) whole black peppers, coarsely crushed
1 T. olive oil

turkey burgers

Lay out a sheet of wax paper, large enough for 4 large patties, and sprinkle ground pepper on the paper.

Lightly mix ground turkey, garlic powder, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard.  Shape into 4 large patties. Place patties on wax paper and let stand for 30 minutes. Before adding them to the frying pan turn them over on the wax paper so both sides are peppered.

About 10 minutes before you start frying, heat a large heavy skillet.  Right before frying, add olive oil, which unlike other oils isn’t happy if you add it so soon that it starts to smoke.

Preparation is about 35 minutes. Cooking time is about 12 minutes.  3 minutes uncovered, 3 minutes covered than flip and repeat.

Background:  I have been making this dish at least every month for decades.  It counts as a real home cooked meal for a week night without too much effort, and it satisfies our hunger for a burger without the red meat.  As with burgers, you can put these on buns, which we almost never do since we like them with rice, a dab sour cream or hot sauce, and a salad or vegetable on the side.  The leftovers also work well in frittatas.

Some people don’t like the taste — or lack of taste — of ground turkey.  But I think the mustard and the Worcestershire and, most importantly, the sitting time allow the turkey to reach a new level of flavor and juiciness.   Sometimes I’ve added chopped raw onions or these fabulous dried onions a friend brought back from California that I still long for.  I even stuffed the patties with cheese.  You could add some herbs to the mix.

Elegant MealsThe source book for this recipe (pictured here) was well worth the $4.95 I paid for it many years ago.  Every single recipe I’ve tried has been good to outstanding, and I’ll be featuring some of these on Onolish.  As the book title announces, they take humble protein and fancy it up.  As you can see, this book is well used:  dogeared, creased with even a smutch of something above the cover photo.  To honor this “Elegant Meals” collection and to promote dressing up recipes or making them simple, as I tend to do, here’s the original recipe:

1-1/2 pounds ground lean beef
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
1 tsp. whole black peppers, coarsely crushed
1 T. each butter or margarine, and salad oil
1/3 cup regular-strength beef broth
2 T. very finely chopped onion
3 T. brandy
Watercress, to garnish

Follow instructions above EXCEPT rub and press crushed pepper into both sides of the patties.  Cover with wax paper and let stand for 30 minutes.

In a large heavy frying pan heat combined butter and oil over moderately high heat until foamy.  Cook meat patties in the mixture fo 2-1/2 minutes to 4 minutes each side until well browned.  Remove to a warm platter and keep warm.

Pour off the cooking fat.  Stir broth and onions into the pan, stirring in brown bits.  Remove from heat, add brandy and swirl to mix and heat it slightly.  Ignite and spoon, flaming, over burgers.  Garnish with bouquets of watercress.

What makes this au poivre is the pepper.  If you tweak that out of the recipe, you’d better call this dish something else.





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