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Dry turkey burgers? Here’s a solution

The turkey burger vexes. It can be flavorful yet dry. One too many mix-ins and the thing goes crumbly. Cook it to the proper internal temperature and it seems overdone. Undercook it the way you might do with a juicy burger, and … well, no good can come from that.

So this recipe might solve those issues. By making the burgers small, they’ll cook evenly and quickly, developing a nice crust along the way. In eliminating chunky

Tom McCorkle/The Washington Post
Perfectly cooked mini turkey burgers can be served on a salad or tucked inside pita bread.

bits and adding the tang and moisture of yogurt and mustard, we’ll build flavor and avoid the crumblies. The last-minute glaze brings a little sweet heat to the party, making condiments optional.

By the way, you can give your chef’s knife a rest: The recipe calls for mixing and shaping but not chopping.

Serve over salad greens or with warm whole-wheat pita breads cut into quarters, plus your favorite condiments.


Servings: 4

1/3 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon granulated garlic (garlic powder)

1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard (may substitute Dijon mustard)

1½ teaspoons fish sauce (may substitute Worcestershire sauce)

1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat

2 teaspoons canola oil

2 tablespoons honey

½ to 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (sweet or hot pimenton)

Salad greens, for serving (optional)

2 whole-wheat pita breads, warmed, for serving (optional)

Combine the yogurt, ¾ teaspoon of the salt, the pepper, garlic powder, mustard, fish sauce and ground turkey in a mixing bowl. Gently mix with your clean hands. Shape into 8 balls of equal size, which will be soft.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add all the ground turkey balls so they are not touching each other, flattening them slightly into patties. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottoms, then turn them over and cook for about 3 minutes on the second sides, until nicely browned.

Reduce the heat to low; partially cover the pan and continue to cook the burgers for an additional 2 minutes or so, until they are cooked through (at the center, registering 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), and firm to the touch.

Meanwhile, whisk together the honey, smoked paprika (to taste) and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a small bowl.

Uncover the burgers and brush the tops of each one with the spiced honey. Cook for 30 seconds or so, just long enough for the honey glaze to set and melt a little into the pan.

Serve as you wish, either atop salad greens or tucked into the warm, quartered pita breads.

PER SERVING: 240 calories; 12 g total fat; 3 g saturated fat; 80 mg cholesterol; 540 mg sodium; 10 g carbohydrates; 0 g dietary fiber; 10 g sugars; 24 g protein.

– Adapted from “Hamburger: A Global History” by Andrew F. Smith