The Little Foodie: Ground turkey preparation is all about fresh
Ground turkey is widely offered as a healthier protein. Meal plans and recipes promising a fit lifestyle almost always list ground turkey next to boneless, skinless chicken breast.
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Back in my day, turkey showed up on the dinner table once a year. Then, many leftover meals later, we all declared we were done with the thing until next Thanksgiving. Today, I can get on board with a few leftovers, but I find little reason to pick up a turkey more than once a year.
It’s no wonder we are always trying to reinvent the thing. Can you imagine any other meat requiring days of brining, taking space in your refrigerator? How about deep-frying in a hazardous amount of peanut oil? Based on promises of the best turkey, I’ve caught myself buying roasting racks, trying different binding methods and flipping the whole thing with heat-resistant gloves. If we had to cook all poultry this attentively just to avoid drying out the meat, we would give up, cold turkey.
Now, ground turkey is widely offered as a healthier protein. Meal plans and recipes promising a fit lifestyle almost always list ground turkey next to boneless, skinless chicken breast.
My usual response to this advice is to use ground pork, which is rarely dry and never disappointing. This is the equivalent of turning the suggestion of an apple for dessert into, “How about I substitute that idea for cookies?” We all know which is more delicious, and for the most part, I am still going to encourage using ground pork over turkey.
There are some recipes for which pork isn’t my top choice, though. When I make burger-sized patties, I feel like I’m guessing, badly, when pork has cooked through. Then I have to cut it in half to check for doneness. Ground chicken is not a commonly available item, either.
So I turned to ground turkey. With this, you won’t experience the pitfalls that commonly plague turkey. It cooks up quick and won’t be dry. When I imagined this burger, I wanted it to include the fresh crisp of raw veggies. The sesame-flavored sauce here is a natural accompaniment.
My favorite kinds of salads are the ones that are not chopped up in a bowl, so this recipe is like a hand-held Asian-style salad with sesame dressing. It is a ground turkey entree I can have for dinner (or lunch) any time of year.
TURKEY BURGERS WITH SESAME SPROUTS
By Mariko Jackson
- >> Sesame sauce:
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon water
- >> Burgers:
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon curry powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon oil
- >> For serving:
- 1 to 1-1/2 cups mung bean sprouts
- Won bok leaves (Napa cabbage)
- Pickled daikon and carrots (optional)
>> To make sauce: Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl. It should be creamy and fully blended. Set aside.
>> To make burgers: In a large bowl, mix all burger ingredients except salt and oil, using your hands. Shape into 4 patties. Sprinkle salt over both sides of patties.
Heat a frying pan or skillet over medium-high. Add oil. When hot, turn down heat to medium-low. Add burgers and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until browned, another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Rinse bean sprouts and pat dry. Toss with sesame sauce.
Place burger on won bok leaf, top with sprouts and pickles, add another leaf (or wrap leaves around burger and fillings) and eat. I prefer to use just the top half of the leaves like a bun. Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving (not including salt to taste): 260 calories, 16 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 125 mg cholesterol, 700 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 26 g protein.
Mariko Jackson blogs about family and food at thelittlefoodie.com. Her column runs on the last Wednesday of the month. Nutritional analysis by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S.