Friday, October 17, 2008

Thanksgiving in a Burger

Every year around this time when the evenings start to cool down and the holiday season begins sneaking up I start to day dream about a number of delicious dishes. Stuffed acorn squash, hearty Italian soups, rich and gooey mac and cheese and everything slow roasted. Another dish in particular that for me is just the epitome of fall and a family favorite are thanksgiving turkey burgers. All the deliciousness of thanksgiving dinner wrapped up in a burger served alongside a scrumptious sweet potato side dish. Quick and easy enough for a casual dinner but also delicious enough to serve at any occasion. Last year we were out of town for thanksgiving in Pismo Beach and my family ordered a premade and gluten laden dinner from Coco’s so I bought all the fixins for my burgers and whipped up my very own gluten free feast.

I originally found a recipe for the burgers a few years ago in a Rachel Ray magazine and have altered and tweaked it each time I make them to the point now where I don’t even use a recipe anymore and just add veggies, spices and herbs till it smells and looks delicious. I like my burgers super flavorful and with a bit of spice but by all means adjust the seasoning to your particular taste.

Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers
Serves 4


1 lb ground turkey, extra lean or lean
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 apple, finely chopped (McIntosh work well in this recipe)
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter or earth balance
3 or 4 teaspoons poultry seasoning
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon or so of chili powder (optional if you like it spicy)
A handful of fresh Italian flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
olive oil
1 can or jar of cranberry sauce (whichever you like, I prefer whole berry)
8 slices of bread, toasted (When I don’t have fresh bread I use Glutino flax seed bread which has a hearty flavor that works well with these burgers)

Turkey Burger Preparation

After you have chopped all your veggies and gathered your spices grab a large rimed pan and over medium heat melt your butter or earth balance. Once melted add to this your celery, apple, onion, poultry seasoning, chili powder, salt and pepper and cook until onions and apples have softened up a bit, about 5 or 6 minutes then transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool.

Once the mixture is no longer hot (room temperature is fine) you are ready to assemble the burgers. Combine the turkey, pre cooked mixture and flat leaf parsley using your hands to combine.

At this point if you like a spicier burger (like me!) you can add more poultry seasoning and or chili powder. Once you have spiced your burgers to your liking you can form them into four burger shaped patties.

Heat your large skillet over medium high heat, lightly greasing the pan with olive oil. Cook the burgers on each side till they start to lightly brown a bit, about 5 or 6 minutes per side. If you notice they are browning too fast then lower your heat to medium and cook until burgers are done and have turned a golden brown color on both sides.

Putting it all together

When burgers are done top them with a generous spoonful of cranberry sauce and sandwich them between two slices of toasted bread.

Ingredients for Baked Sweet Potato Fries

3 or 4 sweet potatoes or yams (the orange ones), peeled and cut into ¼ inch rounds or fry shaped sticks
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
olive oil


Grab a large baking sheet and line it with a silpat or parchment paper. In a large bowl combine your sweet potato pieces with a drizzle of olive oil and using your hands toss them to make sure they are all lightly coated. Next lightly dust the potato bits with the cinnamon sugar mixture, tossing again to make sure they are all are coated a bit with the delicious mixture.

Arrange the potato pieces on your lined baking sheet in a single layer then pop them in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes have passed flip the potatoes and then cook for another 15 minutes. Take the potatoes out and poke them with a fork, if they are still hard cook at 5 minute increments until a fork can easily pierce them.

Once the potato pieces are fork soft and slightly golden turn your oven to broil and cook the potatoes until they start to get light brown spots on them (not too many dark brown or black spots unless you like your fries charred!). Flip the potatoes and brown the other side then transfer them to a serving dish.

Time saving tips for preparing this meal

Before you start the burgers preheat your oven to 400 for the fries.

Chop up the sweet potato while you are chopping the other veggies for the burgers.

While the apple, onion, celery mixture is cooling prepare the sweet potato fries and pop them in the oven to start cooking that way by the time you finish cooking the burgers they will be ready.

Toast the bread and put the cranberry sauce in a dish while your turkey burgers are cooking.

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