Flavors of Greece
If you have been to Greece (or if you are Greek), then you know why people are so enamored with the flavors of that country’s cuisine, which are just wonderfully lively, vibrant, clean. Some of the common ingredients are olive oil, lemon, tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, oregano, dill, mint and other fresh herbs, yogurt, cheeses such as feta, olives, honey, and lots of seafood and fish and lamb.
And while turkey isn’t a usual main protein in that country, it is a wonderful canvas for all of these bright flavors. I’m a huge turkey burger fan, and I know that there are some skeptics out there.
But when you make a turkey burger at home, and can control both the ingredients and the cooking of the burger, you will end up with something amazing, I promise. Look for a 85/15% white/dark meat blend if possible – this will be richer and juicier than lean turkey meat, though either will work here.
The mild flavor of turkey lets the supporting ingredients shine—pops of tangy feta, briny bits of olive, a piney freshness from the oregano, a bit of spiciness from the garlic.
Use Your Hands
Unless you really, really feel the need to use a spoon, the best way to combine ground meat with other ingredients is with your hands, It helps you combine the ingredients the most thoroughly and prevents crushing the meat and ingredients, which can lead to denser burgers.
Forming Burger Patties
Most burgers swell in the center as they cook, and if you start with flat patties, you can end up with very puffy, kind of domed burgers—not so easy to pile the toppings on these. Use your thumbs to press an indent into the middle of each burger, abut 1-inch deep and an inch or so wide.
Then, as the middle expands in the cooking, the burger will end up fairly flat. This is true whether you cook the burgers on a grill, or in a pan, both of which are options here.
Cooking Turkey Burgers
Whether you are cooking the burgers in a skillet, as I did, or on the grill you will want to cook the burgers to an internal temperature of 165°F, which is the safe temperature for cooking ground turkey.
These Greek burgers call for a Greek sauce. Greece is also well known for its dips and sauces. Perhaps the most popular condiment/sauce, and the most familiar outside of the country, is tzatziki. Tzatziki is s crunchy creamy blend of cucumber, garlic, yogurt and herbs and it’s served with everything from pita (as a dip) to lamb to seafood. And it’s great on this turkey burger.
Other Great Burger Recipes:
- Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burgers
- Buffalo Turkey Burger Sliders
- Asian Beef Mushroom Burgers
- Spanish Lamb Burgers with Romesco Sauce and Caramelized Onions
Greek Turkey Burgers
For the Burgers
- 1 pound ground turkey preferably a mixture of white and dark meat, or a blend of 85/15%
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta
- ¼ cup finely minced fresh spinach
- ¼ cup finely chopped Kalamata olives optional
- 1 finely chopped large shallot
- ½ teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 buns
- 1 cup tzatziki
- Lettuce (optional)
- Sliced tomatoes (optional)
- Sliced onions (optional)
- Make the burgers: Combine the turkey, feta, spinach, kalamata olives, shallot, ½ teaspoon garlic, 2 teaspoons oregano, salt (go lightly on the salt—the feta and olives are saltand pepper to taste in a bowl, using your hands unless you just feel like you need to use a spoon.
- Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions, and form a patty with each. Use your fingers to form a small indent in the middle of each patty. This will allow the patties to end up flat after they have been cooked.
- Preheat the grill to medium high, or preheat a nonstick or cast iron pan. Grill or pan sear the burgers for about 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
- Serve the burgers hot on the buns with tzatziki, lettuce, tomatoes and onions, as desired.
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