06 January 2016

Hip and Down-Home

A few months ago, Ed and I grabbed a pre-concert bite with my brother-in-law at a burger bar 30 seconds from our apartment. To his surprise we'd never been before, even though it's been bustling for the past year or two with folks waiting outside. Man, people and burgers...(?!) Nevertheless, it was good, the scene just the right mixture of hip and down-home...and I just had to opt for the house beef blend even though I don't do much beef. After we went back a few times and I found myself about $4 too deep into curating my toppings--smashed avocado, smoked gouda and spicy aioli please!--I decided it was dumb I was not making burgers at home more.

I had gone on a slider kick in the past akin to these delicious meatballs but now after a little experimenting, I believe we have a house turkey burger here that is a snap to throw together, not at all ingredient-heavy and incredibly moist. I love turkey in this situation because it takes to the added flavors so well and I always have it around

I looked to Martha Rose Schulman for inspiration after finding a series in the Times with various burgers of hers. There are others I want to try (like adding mushrooms to the meat mixture) but for this case we're going straight up and eschewing egg and breadcrumbs. If you add those, you may as well make meatballs. The keys are: moisture and umami, and this is achieved with a little Worcestershire sauce, a little wet condiment action and aromatics. A cast-iron pan is all you need, and, you can add all the toppings you want for free : )

Our House Burger
Adapted from Martha Rose Schulman
(note: the recipe is easily halved and I do it that way a lot)

1 lb ground turkey
~scant 1 tsp salt
~few grinds black pepper
~scant 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp Mustard+ Mayo combination (She also suggests ketchup)
1 small shallot, minced fine
1 scallion, minced fine
Optional but recc'd: 1 Tpsp minced parsley and/or chives

Cheddar or gruyere to top

Mix all ingredients with hands except cheese, do not over-mix. Either form 6-8 sliders 1/2 inch thick, or 4-5 larger burgers. I like sliders--they cook faster. Press a thumb indent into each one on top. 
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high and add a slick of oil. Hold your hand above the pan and it should feel hot. Add the sliders and cook on each side, about 4 minutes each, to cook through (160) adding cheese to the top during the last minute on the second side. Turn the pan to low and cover it to melt for another minute or two. You can then rest the pan covered off the heat for a few minutes. Remove to a platter and serve the burgers with toasted buns if you like, but honestly I prefer them as is with knife and fork and all the fixings.

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