Grilled Turkey Burgers with Blue Cheese Poblanos
Growing up in a Russian, Jewish household, the type of meals my mom made were more traditionally Eastern European inspired and did not often resemble the types of food that my friends were eating like burgers or meatloaf (still relieved about that one!). I loved it, and still do, because the meals were hearty and flavorful and my mother is a great cook who taught me that recipes are simply guidelines and inspiration rather than rules you have to abide by. One of the foods that we all asked her to make all the time (and now my kids demand on a very frequent basis) are something called ‘Cutlety’. This is basically a burger style patty, but made from freshly ground chicken. My mom is a pro at this meal and we often ate it with a side of fried potatoes. Though I have been trying for years to replicate the dish, I never have gotten it quite right, so I’ve decided to make my own version become my signature and it’s really a riff on the turkey burger in our house.
One thing I admittedly am not willing to do because of the time, mess and just ick-factor is to grind my own turkey. My mom
did this all the time at home using her food processor, but I just go ahead and buy the pre-ground stuff at the grocery store. It’s obviously not as fresh, but the difference is not all that noticeable. The other difference is that oddly enough, my kids are not fans of the fried potato. I’m not sure how that even is a possibility, but because of it, the burger style way of serving it has become more the norm at our house. For my husband, who can’t have the carbs that come along with the breads or other sides, I’ve begun to serve it with blue cheese stuffed grilled poblanos. These amazing peppers are fast, simple and so filled with delicious flavor that sometimes I just eat those instead of the meat! So far, the kids haven’t been brave enough to try these big peppers, but I’m sure they will soon.
To make the turkey burgers on the grill, the key that I have found is you have to be sure your grill is clean before you grill and that you’re generous with the amount of oil you use on the rack and the burger. Plus, you have to use enough egg to meat ratio to bind the meat well or the whole thing will fall apart on you while you’re cooking. I keep the seasoning simple but flavorful and the whole dinner takes no more than 30 minutes from the time you first open the refrigerator to everyone sitting around the table happily munching on their meal. Play with the condiments and sides and please let me know how you make your burgers healthy and tasty, would love to try your recommendations!
- 1.5 lbs. ground turkey, as fresh as you can find
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed (you can use 1tsp. of the jarred kind for ease and speed)
- 2 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. paprika
- Canola oil cooking spray
- 6 large Poblano peppers
- 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp. grapeseed oil
- Prep a cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil and set aside.
- Turn on clean grill to medium heat.
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and knead with your hands until all meat is thoroughly coated with all seasoning and eggs are well blended into the meat.
- Form patties with your hands, approximately 1 cup of meat per patty and slightly flatten onto the prepared cookie sheet.
- Wash hands well.
- Once grill is ready, spray well with canola oil and place patties onto grill one at a time with plenty of space between each patty.
- Flatten slightly with grill spatula and cook for 8-10 minutes or until patty is brown but not charred.
- Carefully slide spatula under each patty and flip onto other side.
- If you experience any stickiness, wiggle spatula until you gradually release the meat.
- Flip and press down slightly again, careful not to release too many of the juices.
- Cover and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until liquid from patty is completely clear or thermometer registers at 180.
- Remove and let rest 3-5 minutes then serve on thin burger buns or on lettuce leaves.
- Warm grill to medium heat.
- Slice each poblano pepper up the middle without cutting the pepper all the way in half.
- Open and fill with blue cheese, approximately 1-2 tsp per pepper, but add as much as you like to taste.
- Squeeze lightly to close the pepper and lay on a cookie sheet.
- Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and oil.
- Place each pepper direct on the grill and cook approximately 3-5 minutes or until pepper starts to char.
- Flip and continue to cook another 3-5 minutes.
- When pepper looks slightly charred on all sides and cheese begins to ooze a bit, take off the grill and serve immediately.
The Moxy Mamma