brown and wild rice turkey burgers with Tennessee-style cole slaw

Last weekend was beautiful. The sky was blue and the sun was shining. It was warm. We went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to walk down the Cherry Esplanade with hundreds of other people. I am glad we went last weekend because I’m sure there are no more blossoms left on the trees after today’s rain!

Click to play this Smilebox collage
Create your own collage - Powered by Smilebox
Picture collage personalized with Smilebox

It finally feels like spring! After we had such a long cold winter here in New York followed by an unusually cool spring, the weather got warm and beautiful enough to enjoy the cherry blossoms at the BBG. However, cherry blossoms have absolutely nothing to do with this next recipe! I found a recipe for wild rice turkey burgers in the South Beach Diet cookbook but I tweaked it a bit. It had a delicious nutty flavor from the wild rice and a tartness from the extra sharp Cheddar, which melted wonderfully as the meat cooked. So here we go:

brown and wild rice turkey burgers

Brown and Wild Rice Turkey Burgers

Prep time: 35 minutes (includes cooking time for rice in a rice cooker)
Cooking time: 16 minutes in the George Foreman grill

1 pound lean ground turkey (93% lean is recommended)
1 cup cooked brown and wild rice mixture, cooled slightly
1/4 cup tonkatsu sauce (I happened to have this on hand; use barbecue sauce if you prefer)
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon each)
4×1 inch cubes extra-sharp Cheddar Cheese

Do ahead: cook the rice ahead of time and let cool. I used a rice cooker.

For the next step, I used my George Foreman grill but you can do these patties in the oven or in the broiler.

In a large bowl, combine the meat, rice, sauce, egg, salt and pepper. Pack a half-cup measure with the meat mixture and unmold it onto a plate or a baking tray. Gently flatten the patty until it’s about 2 inches thick. Now this is where it’s fun: make a dent in the middle of the patty, but not so deep that you poke a hole all the way through. Insert a cheese cube in the dent and cover it over with meat. Repeat with the remaining meat mixture.

I grilled each patty in the George Foreman for 4 minutes. I tested the patty to see that it registered 165˚F on an instant read thermometer. Be sure not to insert the thermometer in the center or you will hit the cheese. Instead, go as close to the center as you can and be careful not to poke the thermometer all the way through. In any case, the patties were fully cooked in an average of four minutes per patty.

If you prefer, you can bake the patties at 350˚F for 10 minutes but it will not have a grilled appearance. You can achieve this by popping them in the broiler instead. Of course, you can also fry them on the stove. To cut calories, fry them on medium high heat after spraying the skillet with cooking spray.

To cut calories further, I dispensed with the bun and served each patty on a thick slice of grilled iceberg lettuce. No fries but roasted root vegetables, my favorite accompaniment to any grilled meat, and a delicious Tennesee-style cole slaw from saveur.com!

Tennessee-Style Mustard Coleslaw
SERVES 6
1⁄2 cup mayonnaise
1⁄4 cup prepared yellow mustard
1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
1⁄4 cup sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. celery seeds
1 medium head cabbage, shredded

I never know how much mustard to use when using dried powdered mustard. So I just put in enough powder in a one cup measure that I judged was to my taste–about 2 tablespoons–then added enough water to come up to the 1/4 cup level. Then I whisked the mustard with the mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and celery seeds in a bowl. Shred cabbage and toss with dressing in a large bowl. Chill until ready to serve. This cole slaw has a delicious “bite” from the mustard!