Turkey burgers are a tricky thing. Turkey is so lean that by the time the turkey is cooked through, your burger is as dry as sawdust. Poultry products need to be cooked to 170°F and that’s high enough to start forcing the moisture out of the proteins. Adding fat is one way to keep the burgers from drying out. Bread products can help as well, but too much and your burger gets gummy and the meaty flavor is lost. I like to add mushrooms because they have a texture that resembles meat and add their own meaty flavor. The downside is that they don’t hold together as well as meat or bread. Grilling them is not easy. I panfried them because these burgers are rather delicate. Sorry, grilling fans.
Turkey Mushroom Burgers
4 Tablespoons oil
1 onion, peeled
8 oz. mushrooms, wiped clean (see Note)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 slices whole wheat bread, crusts removed
1 pound ground turkey
1 large egg
3 Tablespoons minced fresh dill
1 ½ Tablespoons coarse deli or Dijon mustard
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Coarsely chop the onion, then mince finely in a food processor. Add to the skillet and cook gently while you prep the mushrooms. Coarsely chop the mushrooms and then mince using a food processor. With the food processor running, throw in the garlic cloves to mince. Dump into the skillet with the onions and cook for 10 minutes.
While the mushrooms are cooking, coarsely chop the bread and pulverize to fine crumbs in a food processor. When the mushrooms are done, remove from the heat and mix in the bread crumbs. Allow to cool. Place the mushroom mixture, turkey, egg, dill, mustard, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Mix until uniform.
Wipe out the skillet. Heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Divide the turkey mixture into 4 to 6 portions and form into burgers. Cook burgers until browned on both sides and no longer pink in the center, if in doubt use a thermometer to assure the center reached 170°F.
Serve on a bun as a burger but it’s also good served as a mini-meatloaf. Leftovers are delicious cold.
Note: You can use any kind of mushroom but porcini, portobellos, cremini, or white mushrooms will add a nice meaty flavor.