Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Black Bean Turkey Burgers ... with caramelized onions & dates

Yeah, I know the title is long... but I didn't want you to just read over this one if the turkey burger part of it doesn't interest you... because the caramelized onions and dates definitely should interest you.

I was asked to make a quick casual dinner for three yesterday with whatever was in the fridge. Lo and behold, ground turkey! I also found a tub of leftover black beans from their mexican feast the night before- perfect. If you've got that, everything else is easy... these are great because you can go to town on ingredients, just using whatever you have for flavoring. Turkey and black beans are really a perfect blank slate for creativity. Here's what I used:
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • roughly 1 cup cooked black beans (with a little of their juice)
  • 1 egg
  • roughly 3-4 Tablespoons cornmeal
  • dijon mustard
  • salsa verde (green tomatilla salsa)
  • soy sauce
  • chili powder
  • onion powder
  • salt
  • olive oil
Sound good? If not, use my basic skeleton and use whatever ingredients you have! Red peppers, jalapenos, corn, sun- dried tomatoes, anything! So, to start, throw those black beans over some low heat to let them start simmering. Add in the chili powder, onion powder and soy sauce. Stir and let simmer while you prepare the turkey.
Put your ground turkey in a mixing bowl and crack in the egg, add some of the dijon mustard, or stone ground if you prefer, which I do but they didn't have, and 3 heaping tablespoons of cornmeal. Mix together! (yes, it'll get squishy and gross)
Stir your black beans to make sure they're not burning, and start smashing some of them down with the back of your wooden spoon.
Add in some salsa verde to the turkey mixture and another heaping tablespoon of cornmeal. Stir!
 these pictures are so gross, I apologize.
Now let's add in the beans!
Mix together and let's get the skillet out. Drizzle it with olive oil and plop dollops of the mixture on. I don't like perfectly round turkey burgers, I like them to have a little unique, messier shape but, if you want, round them first. Just beware that if you're going to round, you'll need to lightly flour or cornmeal your hands because the mixture is sticky.
Once these babies hit the hot skillet, I'd let them sear for about 30-45 seconds and then go ahead and give them their first flip. Turkey burns quickly so be conscious of flipping them often. Smash down after each flip with the back of your skillet to make sure it cooks evenly through.
Once you can see that both sides are getting golden and the insides are still a little raw, you're probably going to give both sides about one more flip at a minute on each side before they're done.
Now the only way to eat these things in my opinion, is with caramelized onions and dates, and finished off with goat's cheese! (and tomatoes and other normal burger toppings, of course) So slice up one whole onion, I used yellow into thin slices, drizzle some olive oil in a skillet and sprinkle with salt and toss those onions in. Let cook for about five minutes or until they start to get a little translucent. Then finely chop up two whole dates. And don't forget to remove that pit! :) Throw those into the onion mixture and cook on low for as long as you can stand it... I cooked these for about 15, 20 minutes. The smell was unbelievable. That should be a good sign that they're probably done.

So there you have it! I don't have any photos of the finished product, since this was dinner for someone else... but I did taste the burgers and they were so tasty and so simple. Also you can feel pretty good about having more than one of these babies because they're made with such lean meat. Eat them all on their own with no bun, or serve them open faced over some crusty italian loaf with your caramelized onion mix, tomatoes and a few slices of avocado. If you're feeling REALLY saucy, poach or fry an egg and pop that on top as well... heavenly.

Happy Turkey Burger Tuesday, guys!

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