Delicious Turkey Burgers for Memorial Day

Even though summer is not officially here, Memorial Day weekend kicks off the new season for most of us. We pull out our grills, clean our decks, scrub our patios, and sweep our porches as we switch to al fresco dining. This year I’m reviving a recipe I created years ago while writing The Big Book of Backyard Cooking. I’ve added some new touches to Lemon Dill Turkey Burgers.

I had already eyed these burgers when Marilyn Cozad, one of my longtime students emailed to say she had made them recently. She replaced the sliced Havarti in the original recipe with some whipped goat cheese. In one of my spring cooking classes she had seen me prepare this light, airy whipped cheese scented with fresh dill and lemon as a garnish for lamb chops, and heard me mention it would be delicious on burgers!

I loved the change, and am planning to serve these burgers garnished with lettuce, thick tomato slices, and sliced red onion during this long holiday weekend. For sides you could serve them with grilled asparagus sprinkled with some Parmesan cheese and grated lemon zest, along with traditional offerings of crispy potato chips and dill pickles. Happy Memorial Day to everyone!





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Lemon Dill Turkey Burgers

1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat
1 /2 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 /2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for oiling grill rack or stove top grill pan

4 hamburger buns, lightly toasted
Whipped Goat Cheese (Recipe follows.)
Red leaf or crispy leaf lettuce
1 large ripe tomato, cut into 4 slices about 1/2 -inch thick
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1.Place ground turkey, onion, lemon zest and juice, fresh dill, salt, and pepper in large mixing bowl and mix well with a spoon to combine. Divide into four equal portions and shape into patties about 1/2 inch thick. (Patties can be prepared 4 hours ahead; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

2.To cook, arrange a rack 5 inches from heat source. Oil grill rack lightly and preheat grill. Grill burgers until completely cooked through and juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife, 4 to 5 minutes per side. You could also use a stove top grill pan. Oil pan and set over medium heat; when hot, add burgers and grill about 4 minutes per side, or until juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife.

3.To serve, spread both sides of each bun with a generous tablespoon (per side) of the whipped goat cheese. (You will have some cheese left over. It’s delicious spread on pita or tortilla chips.) Place a lettuce leaf or leaves on bottom half of each bun, top with a tomato slice, and then with sliced red onion, and burger. Cover with tops. Serves 4.                                     

Whipped Goat Cheese
1 cup (8 oz) creamy goat cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
4 teaspoon chopped dill
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1.For the whipped goat cheese, place cheese in a medium deep bowl and, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat 30 seconds. Then gradually, a little at a time, beat in the olive oil. Stir in the dill and lemon zest. Mixture should be light and fluffy. (Whipped goat cheese can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature an hour before using.)

Adapted from The Big Book of Backyard Cooking by Betty Rosbottom (Chronicle Books 2004)

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