Archive for category Turkey

Wicked Good Burgers

eating-burgersWe’re not talking McDonalds, Burger King or Wendy’s here. In fact, have you watched television advertising from these slop shops? When you finally get there and order your burger, it rarely looks like it does on television. Ah, the beauty of food stylists. Let’s take it one step further here: We’re not even talking Fuddruckers or Five Guys (although anything you can get here is an improvement over other three). We’re talking homemade burgers. There’s nothing like it. I guarantee you can’t get these in a take-out place.

We’re also not talking just beef, but also ground chicken and turkey. Again, I urge you to think outside the culinary box. Cook them outdoors on the grill if you can but, if not, an indoor electric grill works as well (Breville makes a great product).

Following this little diatribe are six great burger recipes for you to try. This isn’t the entire repertoire, but it’s a great start. The recipes call for 1-1/3 lbs of ground meat. This should give you about four decent-sized burgers. I also do not buy the leanest cut, even with chicken and turkey. There’s nothing worse than a dried out burger. I am also giving you recipes for cheeseburgers because, well, what’s a burger without cheese on top? If you can’t eat cheese or do not like cheeseburgers, simply leave it off.

Lettuce or some kind of greens are always a welcome addition to burgers. Get creative here. Try baby spinach, baby kale or arugula for a switch.

Tuscan Blue Cheese Burgers

Ingredients

1-1/3 lbs of ground sirloin, chicken or turkey

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp Italian or Tuscan Seasoning (I use McCormick’s)

1/2 lb crumbled blue cheese (or Gorgonzola, if you prefer)

Deli-sliced Pancetta (Italian bacon)

Italian Fontina Cheese (optional)

Coarse sea salt and coarse-ground black pepper

Olive oil and/or grill spray

Thomas’ Sandwich-sized English Muffins, toasted

Directions

The first thing you want to do is prepare the Pancetta. Deli-sliced pancetta should be sliced fairly thin. This is what you want. You should use 2-3 sliced per burger. Heat a pan and cook the pancetta until crisp, but not burned. Set aside on a paper towel to drain.

Mix together the first three ingredients, and divide into four equal parts. When forming the burgers, push some crumbled blue cheese into the center of the meat and form the burger around it.

Brush the burgers with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Even though you are brushing oil on the burgers, I recommend using grill spray on outdoor grills as well.

On an outdoor grill, cook six inches from the coals with the cover down, or on a gas grill on medium-high heat with cover down for 6-7 minutes per side. On an indoor grill, preheat the grill on high and cook for 7-8 minutes on each side. For cheeseburgers, add the Fontina just before the burgers are cooked. Melting should take less than a minute with the grill cover closed.

Serve the burgers on Thomas’ Sandwich-Sized English Muffins that have been lightly toasted. These burgers are delicious with a quick Garlic-Lemon Aioli. It’s simple to make.

Garlic-Lemon Aioli: Mix 3/4 cup light mayonnaise, 3 tbsp minced garlic, 2.5 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper together. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving your burgers.

Greek Feta Burgers

Ingredients

1-1/3 lbs of ground sirloin, chicken or turkey

2 tbsp dried thyme

1 tbsp dried oregano

2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning

1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese

Kasseri cheese (optional)

Coarse sea salt and coarse-ground black pepper

Olive oil and/or grill spray

Crusty rolls

Directions

Mix together the first four ingredients, and divide into four equal parts. When forming the burgers, push some crumbled Feta cheese into the center of each and form the burgers around it.

Brush the burgers with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. I recommend using grill spray on outdoor grills even though you are oiling the burgers.

On an outdoor grill, cook the burgers six inches above the coals with the cover down, or on medium-high heat on a gas grill with the cover down for 6-7 minutes. On an indoor grill, preheat on high, then cook the burgers for 7-8 minutes on each side. For cheeseburgers, add your Kasseri cheese just before the burgers are done.

These burgers are great on crusty sandwich rolls. Sun-dried tomatoes in oil are great on top!

Santa Fe Burgers

Ingredients

1-1/3 lb ground sirloin, chicken or turkey

1 tbsp cumin

1/2 tbsp coriander

Handful of fresh, chopped cilantro

5-6 Jalapeno peppers, seeded and cut in strips

1 small yellow onion, peeled and cut in strips

1 tbsp minced garlic

Coarse sea salt and coarse-ground black pepper

Olive oil and/or grill spray

Pepper Jack Cheese (optional)

Burger rolls (get creative; not the ones you feed your kids because they won’t eat any other kind)

Directions

Before you start the burgers, prepare your toppings. Drizzle some oil in a pan, add the Jalapenos, onions and garlic. Sauté on medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes and set aside.

Now, mix together the first four ingredients, and divide it into four equal portions. Form your burgers, and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

On an outdoor grill, cook the burgers six inches above the coals with the cover down, or on medium-high heat on a gas grill with the cover down for 6-7 minutes. On an indoor grill, preheat on high, then cook the burgers for 7-8 minutes on each side. For cheeseburgers, add your Pepper Jack cheese just before the burgers are done.

Serve on rolls with the Jalapeno pepper, onion and garlic topping.

Mexicali Blues Burgers

Ingredients

1-1/3 lbs ground sirloin, chicken or turkey

3/4 cup chopped ancho, poblano or pasilla peppers

2 tbsp chili powder (hot or mild)

1 tbsp paprika

Coarse sea salt and coarsely-ground black pepper

Olive oil and/or grill spray

Guacamole

Burger buns

Monterey Jack Cheese or Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Directions

Mix together the first four ingredients and divide into four equal portions. Form your burgers, and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

On an outdoor grill, cook the burgers six inches above the coals with the cover down, or on medium-high heat on a gas grill with the cover down for 6-7 minutes. On an indoor grill, preheat on high, then cook the burgers for 7-8 minutes on each side. For cheeseburgers, add your Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese just before the burgers are done.

Serve on burger buns topped with guacamole.

Cajun Burgers

Ingredients

1-1/3 lbs ground sirloin, chicken or turkey

3/4 cup chopped onion

1 tbsp Cayenne pepper

1 tbsp garlic powder

2 tbsp oregano

Coarse sea salt and coarsely-ground black pepper

Olive oil and/or grill spray

Cabot Habanero Cheddar Cheese

Onion rolls

Directions

Mix together the first five ingredients, and divide into four separate portions. Form your burgers, and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

On an outdoor grill, cook the burgers six inches above the coals with the cover down, or on medium-high heat on a gas grill with the cover down for 6-7 minutes. On an indoor grill, preheat on high, then cook the burgers for 7-8 minutes on each side. For cheeseburgers, add the Cabot Habanero Cheddar just before the burgers are done.

Serve on onion rolls.

Pesto Burgers

Ingredients

1-1/3 lbs ground sirloin, chicken or turkey

4 tbsp pesto

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Sea salt and crushed red pepper

Mozarella cheese

Roma tomatoes (thinly sliced)

Crusty rolls

Directions

I like making pesto, but you really don’t need to for this recipe. You can simply buy the pesto in the jar. This version naturally has a fair amount of olive oil sitting on top. Pour most of this out and use just the pesto.

Mix together the first three ingredients, and divide into four equal portions. Form your burgers, but skip the brushing with olive oil step. There will be plenty of oil from the pesto. Season with salt and crushed red pepper.

On an outdoor grill, cook the burgers six inches above the coals with the cover down, or on medium-high heat on a gas grill with the cover down for 6-7 minutes. On an indoor grill, preheat on high, then cook the burgers for 7-8 minutes on each side. For cheeseburgers, add the Mozarella just before the burgers are done.

Serve on crusty rolls with thinly sliced Roma tomatoes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

, , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Della Piana’s Homemade Gravy with Meatballs

I grew up in an Italian household, and every Sunday we had ‘macaroni and gravy.’ We never called it ‘pasta sauce.’ There’s also the false belief that you absolutely have to use fresh tomatoes. You do not. With canned tomatoes, someone else does all the hard work. This is not marinara; this is thick. It cooks slowly for about 8+ hours. So, here’s my original recipe for ‘gravy.’

Ingredients

4 tbsp. olive oil or extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)

1 can tomato puree

2 can crushed tomatoes

1 can whole tomatoes

4 cans tomato paste

8 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 sweet (Vidalia) onion, chopped

6 Italian sausages (I prefer hot; you can use sweet or hot, or a combination of both)

3 boneless country-style pork ribs

Homemade meatballs (recipe follows)

4 tbsp. dried oregano

4 tbsp. dried basil

2 tbsp. dried parsley

6 bay leaves

1 tsp. salt (I prefer sea salt)

1/2 cup ‘old’ red wine or 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Directions

Put olive oil in a very large sauce pan (and I’m not kidding about the size) over medium high heat. Add chopped garlic cloves and chopped onion. Sauté until transparent and/or slightly browned and you get the aroma. Add Italian sausages and boneless country-style pork ribs. Brown on all sides, turning intermittently. Add ‘old’ red wine or red wine vinegar. (I don’t know about you folks, but I can rarely down a bottle of red wine in a couple of days. However, it doesn’t have to  go to waste. Set it aside. It will age and develop a bit of a ‘vinegar’ essence. I keep all my old red wine and routinely use it for cooking.)

Allow this concoction to simmer for about 15-20 minutes over low heat, then it’s time to add the canned tomatoes. Add all four cans plus one can of water. Start simmering over medium heat, but move it to low and simmer for about an hour. It’s important that you stir this continuously so that nothing gets stuck and burns on the bottom of the pan.After an hour, you’ll add the meatballs (recipe follows this) and simmer for another 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes, add the first two cans of tomato paste. Again, you’ll add one can of water after. You can use the water to rinse all of the paste out of the two cans. Simmer for 20 minutes more, then add the last two cans of tomato paste, repeating the rinsing process. All in all, you’ll be adding two cans of water to four cans of paste. Then, please taste the gravy and adjust the seasonings. I’m giving you measurements for the seasonings (parsley, oregano, etc.), but you should add more to suit your flavor preference. There is no magic formula here.

Once the paste is added, you’re going to put the cover on and leave the gravy and meatballs on a low simmer for a few more hours. Again, it’s not necessary to simmer for the full 8 hours, but I made this at Christmas and basically let it simmer on low for the full 8 hours, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing burns to the bottom. It’s worth it. As it cooks, the paste helps it to thicken. Remember, this is not marinara. Thick is better. I always buy an extra can of paste in the event that I want to add more. That’s a good policy.

By the way, it’s a good idea to taste your gravy several times during it’s creation. It’s never too late to adjust your seasonings.

Now, here are a couple of myth busters: It is not necessary to add sugar to your gravy. I never do. Some people insist this takes the acidity out of the tomatoes. Not necessary. The process of simmering will take care of that. And, when it’s time to cook your pasta, you absolutely should not put a teaspoon of olive oil in the water. A lot of people recommend this to prevent the pasta from sticking together. This doesn’t happen if your water is at a high rolling boil and you keep stirring it (or if making spaghetti, moving it around the pan with a spaghetti implement). Adding oil will prevent the gravy from sticking to the pasta. That’s not what you want. If using commercial pasta, I love Orichiette (often referred to as ‘pigs ears’), Cavitappi (often called ‘corkscrew’), Farfalle (or ‘bow ties’) or Medium Shells. On the ‘spaghetti’ side, I love Fusilli (the long version; not the short) and Linguine. They hold the gravy so well..

Homemade Meatballs

Meatballs can be made with ground beef, a combination of ground,beef and ground pork, turkey or chicken. For Christmas, I made mine with ground turkey.

Ingredients

1 lb. ground beef, pork, turkey or chicken or any combination of the four

3 tbsp. minced garlic (feel free to buy this in the jar)

1 tbsp. oregano

1 tbsp. thyme

1 tbsp. dried basil

1 tbsp ground parsley

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tbsp. ground black pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 to 1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs

2 large eggs (add more if needed)

Directions

This is an uncomplicated recipe. Simply mix all these things together in a big bowl. Yes, use your hands (but wash them first). Size is relative. I don’t like mine too small or too large. The ones in this photo are the right attitude.

Many people bake their meatballs in the over before putting them in the gravy. I only do this if I’m making them to be added to ready-made gravy for the kids. Otherwise, carefully put them in the gravy you’re making on the stove and allow them to cook slowly. Nothing special needs to be done. They will be absolutely delicious.

Cook’s Note: In the next few days, I’ll be putting up several recipes for home made pasta. Keep an eye out!

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: