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Turkey Burgers with Cranberry Relish

Turkey Burgers with Cranberry Relish
This is Thanksgiving in July: all the right flavors in a summer burger cooked on the grill. Use regular ground turkey, which is a mix of white and dark meat, as ground turkey breast is too lean and bland for good grilling. For the relish, use prepared cranberry sauce from the deli, or use canned whole-berry sauce. Serve with grilled sweet potato fries.

Ingredients:

For the cranberry relish:

  • 1 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • 2 Tbs. freshly grated or prepared horseradish
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  • For the turkey burgers:
    1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 cup day-old small corn bread cubes
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 4 sandwich rolls, preferably freshly baked

Directions:

To make the cranberry relish, in a small bowl, stir together the cranberry sauce, horseradish, lemon juice, cinnamon and cloves. Season with salt and pepper. Let the relish stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before using, or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Return the relish to room temperature before using.

In a small fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the celery and onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

In a large bowl, combine the turkey, corn bread, parsley, sage, thyme, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, egg and the onion mixture. Using your hands, mix together the ingredients until evenly distributed. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions and form each into a patty 4 to 4 1/2 inches in diameter and about 3/4 inch thick. Take care not to handle the meat more than necessary or to compact the patties too much.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Oil the grill rack.

Grill the burgers over the hottest part of a charcoal fire or directly over the heat elements of a gas grill, turning once, until opaque throughout, 6 to 7 minutes per side. About 1 minute before the burgers are done, place the rolls, cut sides down, along the edges of a charcoal grill where the heat is less intense, or on an area of a gas grill with lower heat, and grill until lightly toasted.

Serve the burgers in the buns with the cranberry relish. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Grilling, by Denis Kelly, Melanie Barnard, Barbara Grunes & Michael McLaughlin (Oxmoor House, 2003).