Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Long before I had any idea what those words meant, or what an herb even was, I was singing those syllables at the top of my lungs, as a kid in the 60s playing the vinyl record I bought with allowance money. What these fine herbs were doing in the lyrics of an old English ballad, a lover’s duet no less, I haven’t a clue. But the result was, at least for this kid, a lifelong curiosity about them. What was parsley, or sage? and why would they hang out with rosemary and thyme?
Tell you what. They’re great in a turkey burger. Ground turkey on its own just isn’t as flavorful as ground beef, even if you use ground dark meat as we recommend. But plumped up with some chopped fresh herbs, a little onion and garlic, and the result is exquisite. A worthy burger. Enjoy.
Herbed Turkey Burger Recipe
Ground turkey is typically much leaner than ground beef. In order to keep the burger from being too dry it helps to use ground dark meat from thighs and legs if you can get it. Adding a little olive oil to the mix helps too.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium red onion, minced
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 2 pounds ground turkey meat, preferably from the legs and thighs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped parsley
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh sage
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 Sauté the chopped onion in olive oil for 3 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes, or until the garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat. Transfer the onions, garlic, and oil to a large bowl to cool down.
2 Once the onions are cool to the touch, add the ground turkey, salt, pepper, and herbs into the bowl. Using your hands, gently mix everything until well combined. You want the herbs mixed in without overworking the meat (which would make the burgers tough).
3 Form the meat into patties. Here's a burger patty tip: use your fingers to form a slight indentation in the middle of the patties. When burger patties cook, the meat contracts from the edges. Having the middle part slightly thinner than the edges when raw will help the patties finish with a more even shape (less bulge in the middle).
4 Cook on a hot grill or in a hot cast iron frying pan for 5-6 minutes per side, until cooked through (165°F if using a meat thermometer). If using a grill, coat the grill grates first with a little vegetable oil. If using a frying pan, put a little oil in the pan first to help keep the burgers from sticking. A trick my mother uses when making burgers in a cast iron frying pan is to sprinkle the bottom of the pan with a little salt. The salt acts sort of like ball-bearings, keeping the patties from sticking when you go to flip them.
Serve with toasted buns, and the accompaniments of your choice—sliced onions, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, bacon, mayonnaise (especially good with mayo), mustard, relish, ketchup.
Yield: Makes 8 turkey burgers.