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Give ground turkey a boost of flavor, moisture

Many people mistakenly assume turkey burgers are lean.

But depending on the variety of ground turkey used, you can end up with more than 15 grams of fat in a 4-ounce portion. You can buy ground turkey that is 99 percent lean, but you'll end up with dry, flavorless burgers.

A good compromise is 93 percent lean ground turkey, which has about 8 grams of fat per serving. It's enough to keep the burgers moist and flavorful, but lean enough to include in a healthy diet.

Of course, as with any meat, less fat means less flavor, so you'll want a strategy for compensating for these losses. Think meatloaf.

By mixing in chopped vegetables — such as onions, mushrooms and celery — fresh or dried herbs and a wet component, say ketchup or mustard, you will not only boost the flavor, but also add back much-needed moisture.

Consider adding bread crumbs or quick cooking oats, too. They not only stretch the meat, but also help retain moisture.

This robustly flavored Stout and Onion Turkey Burger uses caramelized sweet onions and a reduction of intense, dark beer combined with zesty mustard and dried thyme to enhance ground turkey. Use this same flavor base to make excellent meatloaf or meatballs.

Serve these burgers with a side of sweet potato fries.

STOUT AND ONION TURKEY BURGER

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 cup chopped Vidalia onion

1 cup Guinness or other stout

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pound 93 percent lean ground turkey

1 cup panko (Japanese-style) bread crumbs

1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (optional)

4 whole-wheat hamburger buns or other small wheat bread

In a medium saucepan over medium, heat the oil. Add the onions and saute until softened and slightly golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the stout and increase heat to high. Boil the mixture until reduced by two-thirds and making syrupy bubbles, about 20 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl to cool for 20 minutes.

Heat a gas grill to medium-high or prepare a charcoal fire.

Add the mustard, thyme, salt and pepper to the onion mixture. Add the ground turkey and bread crumbs. Gently but thoroughly combine. Shape into 4 patties, about 3/4 inch thick.

To oil the grill grates, wet a folded paper towel with oil, hold it with tongs and rub it over the grates.

Grill the burgers until well browned on the underside, 4 to 5 minutes. With a spatula, turn the burgers carefully. Grill 4 to 6 minutes more, or until the burger registers 165 degrees at the center. Top with cheese, if using, during the last minute of grilling. Meanwhile, toast the buns at the edge of the grill. Serve the burgers on the toasted buns.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 468 calories (131 from fat), 15g fat (5g saturated, 0g trans fats), 73mg cholesterol, 49g carbohydrates, 32g protein, 5g fiber, 966mg sodium.

Give ground turkey a boost of flavor, moisture 08/13/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 12, 2010 5:37pm]

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