I love to barbecue when it’s warm out, but I’ve never been one for shovelling through three feet of snow to grill something in sub-zero temperatures when I have a perfectly functional stove in my warm kitchen. Besides, barbecuing is an excuse to sip wine and read a book on the patio, two activities that just aren’t the same when you’re wearing a coat and gloves. Not that it’s winter here yet, but it gets dark very early and the temperatures have been in the lower single digits (Celsius that is).
One of my specialties is burgers, which almost always get raves (except from certain picky offspring who prefer a plainer offering). I have adjusted my recipe over the years to arrive at what is now my classic Mar’s Burgers. I used to make them with lean ground beef, but once I tried the ground turkey/chicken mixture I’ve hardly looked back. The seasonings of red chile, garlic and sage not only make these visually appealing, but add a flavour boost to the low fat meat. So, another of my High Flavour, Low Fat recipes!
Anyway, I thought barbecuing season was over for this year, until the Culinary Enthusiast suggested having burgers for dinner on Sunday. The idea just seemed so appealing, so off we headed to the market to get everything we needed. My daughter and son-in-law came for dinner, and while Jenn and I were baking the oven fries and fixing the corn and pepper sauté, the guys were outside in the dark and cold (which didn’t prevent the requisite beer being in hand), ably grilling for what I’m pretty sure is the last time until spring.
Mmm, stolen burgers in November … hot off the grill, lightly charred on the outside, cooked through but still moist on the inside, eaten on a whole wheat bun with sliced tomato, red onion and the condiments of one’s choice. An unexpected treat as winter draws near!
- 1 pound ground turkey/chicken (UPDATE: my butcher’s blend is 60% chicken, 40% turkey)
- 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 red chile pepper, minced
- 4 leaves fresh sage, finely chopped
- a few shakes of Worcestershire Sauce
- about 2 tbsp ketchup
- lots of freshly ground pepper
Put the turkey/chicken mixture in a bowl, and heap all the other ingredients on top. Mix until just combined. (I know some people like to use their hands, but I use a serving fork with large tines.)
Shape into four large patties no more than about 3/4 inch thick, or five or six smaller patties. Since this is a fairly loose mixture, I put the patties on a parchment lined tray and put into the freezer for 20 or 30 minutes to firm up a bit before taking them to the grill. (Periodically during the summer I make a double or triple batch, freeze them on trays and then transfer to a freezer bag, so I have them on hand whenever we get a burger craving.)
Grill over moderately high heat, being careful not to turn until the underside has cooked enough that they won’t fall apart (the turkey/chicken mix is a little more delicate than ground beef). For added flair, give them a quarter turn on each side to create snazzy grill marks. It’s a nice touch to toast the buns on the grill too, if you’re so inclined. As always with poultry, it’s important to ensure these are cooked through, but there’s no need to grill them until desiccated!
Serve with the side dishes of your choice and lots of napkins, and enjoy the sighs of satisfaction as your guests chow down.