With the annoying reality check that is January, I've been trying to trim back the fat on some of my cooking. The problem with this is that I am essentially a fat purist. I don't really believe in recipes that claim to "let you enjoy your favorites" simply by substituting the ingredients with the "fat free" or "light" versions, generally affecting the taste. Then I just sit there eating the adjusted food, wishing it was the real thing and feeling sorry for myself. When I cut back, I cut back by portion size. I'll eat half of the giant burrito, and save the other half for the next day's lunch. Instantly I'll have cut the calories in half! I get the small latte, instead of the grande "non fat with skim" version. And I try to find recipes that honestly have less fat, not because they were adjusted to have less, they just naturally have less, so taste is not sacrificed. If you are looking for options from my past posts, I would suggest, Portabella Burgers (the very first recipe I posted!), Roasted Tomatoes, and Fish Tacos. This week though, I pulled out the big guns, and old classic of mine that I have been meaning to share with you for quite some time. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce the best Turkey Burger of all time.
Turkey Burgers can be a bit tricky, easy to dry out and prone to blandness. This recipe fixes those problems by mixing in bits of green pepper and adding a fantastic balsamic rosemary marinade, so flavor abounds. As for the meat, while it is leaner, I wouldn't recommend going with all light meat. It dries out way too fast. I would recommend a blend of light and dark meat, or if you're okay with a bit more fat (and then only eating one burger) all dark meat has worked well for me many times. What makes these even better is brushing that fantastic marinade onto some sliced onion, and then grilling those as well. It's a delicious combination. The recipe was designed for a real grill, but I live in an apartment in Queens and it's 28 degrees outside. I use a Calphalon grill pan, and for my "cover" I use the lid to a crappy pasta pot that I threw out over a year ago. It's all improvisation baby. Don't think. I also use a George Foreman for the onion rings and the buns. The George Foreman doesn't come out much, I find it dries out meat really quickly, but it's genius for veggies. That thing can make some killer asparagus too. So make due with what you have, and enjoy. This is a super easy recipe, great for the middle of the week, and with any luck, it will help those jeans not feel so snug either.
Phenomenal Turkey BurgersAdapted from Southern Living
Marinade Ingredients:1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Burger Ingredients:1 pound ground turkey1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced dried onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper4 hamburger bunsand...Half a large onion cut into 1/2 inch slices for the Onion Rings
Directions:Wisk together marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
Combine all burger ingredients in a large bowl. Divide into 4 patties. Baste with Marinade.
Grill, covered, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until no longer pink in center, basting each side occasionally with Fresh Herb Marinade.
While burgers are cooking, brush onions with remaining marinade. Grill about 4 minutes on each side (or 5 minutes total on a George Foreman) until onions are tender and grill marks appear.
Grill buns, cut side down about 2 minutes or until toasted.
And that's it! You just assemble your burgers, using whatever burger condiments you favor. Will's a pickles and ketchup guy, I prefer a mayo ketchup blend. It's not exactly a salad, but it isn't a big roast with buttered vegetables, which lets face it, is what first comes to mind when it's this cold out. Feel free to leave your favorite low cal recipes in the comments, I've still got a few pounds to go before I stop growling every time I see a cupcake. And Christ, there's only one month until the sweets bonanza that is Valentine's Day. Oh well. At least the wedding is over...