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It really doesn’t take much to keep my husband happy… our FSU football team winning on Saturdays, a super fast high speed internet connection, Dirt Wolf IPAs. One thing that does not make my husband jump for endless joy?… turkey burgers. Mike is an old fashioned meat and potatoes kind of man and when you start messing with the American institution that is The Cheeseburger, you might as well be trying to sell ice to an Eskimo. Turkey is acceptable in use in homemade hamburger helper, it’s acceptable in spaghetti, it’s acceptable in shepherds pie. Any deviation from cow when it comes to burgers… not acceptable! I know this because when the conversation of turkey burgers or even black bean burgers (I won’t even begin to tell you how well THAT dinner went) replacing his beloved BEEF with any other option, there is a special look that comes across his face that really can’t even be described properly. If you can imagine the combination of being told unicorns that fart rainbows really do exist and the involuntary contortion that comes about when smelling haggis for the first time, that’s pretty much the look that takes over my husbands face when the turkey burger is mentioned. Honestly, I couldn’t make this up if I tried.
Fast forward this story to Mike’s AMAZING wife who continuously tries to bring healthier options in our lives. She’s on a mission, there is an agenda, a plan is formed. There has always been the understanding between us that if he relents and tries whatever horrible thing I am trying to make him eat, this will make me happy and I won’t make him do it again. To my way of thinking, it’s not me trying to make him miserable but asking him to try new things. My husband is many wonderful things, open minded and experimental… eh…. not so much. Michael is that guy that once he knows there is something being put into his meal that he believes he does not like, he will not even give it a chance. It can be the smallest of ingredients, one that he will never even taste or know that it has even been included but he is a man of strong conviction and even stronger preconceived notions. Right or wrong it doesn’t matter, that meal is either not even going to be tried or it will be begrudgingly eaten with the hopeless look of disgust and misery on the face of a very unhappy, very hungry man. I never would have thought you could start a three day fight over a can of cream of chicken and mushroom soup. Trust me, you can.
So here comes this recipe. My line of thinking was to load it up with enough flavor that maybe it could bypass the Burger Radar. He likes spicy? He’s getting spicy. He likes bell peppers and hot sauce? He’s getting bell pepper’s and hot sauce. Challenge accepted!!!
Tex Mex Turkey Burger
You will need:
8 slices thick cut bacon
1 lb ground turkey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 tbl chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 small bell pepper (any color), seeded and finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp sirracha sauce
1 1/2 tsp cayenne hot sauce
2 teaspoons grill seasoning blend
Salt and Pepper
Vegetable oil or olive oil, for drizzling
8 slices pepper jack cheese
4 crusty kaiser rolls, split
1/2 cup jalapeno pepper jelly (optional)
Start by cooking your bacon. I like doing mine in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or so or you can cook your bacon in a skillet. Whichever you prefer is fine. I have been asked if I use regular bacon or turkey bacon for this recipe and you can use either. Once your bacon is cooked, remove to a paper towel covered plate and set aside to drain.
Next prepare your vegetables. Once your veggies have been chopped, combine your ground turkey, garlic, onion, cilantro, peppers, spices and liquid smoke.
Divide mixture into four burger patties and drizzle each side with vegetable oil.
Cook in a skillet over medium high heat for 5 minutes each side and top with the cheese the last couple minutes of cooking to allow them to melt.
Move your patties to your rolls and top with the cooked bacon and a smear of jalapeno jelly, if using.
This recipe is fast and easy and loaded with spicy flavor. It’s a delicious, healthy alternative to burger night and it’s also a great make ahead meal to pop in the freezer for those nights when you don’t have time to stop at the store on the way home. And what of my husband, you ask? Well, it will never replace his first love, COW, but he ate it all and even said we could have them again. Coming from him, that’s a ringing endorsement.
So now I am curious.. how do you like to make your turkey burgers? Let me know…