Saturday, September 1, 2018

Mauch Chunk Turkey Burger

A caveat at the beginning.  This recipe -- Mauch Chunk Turkey Burger -- gets its name from one fact.  I came up with this recipe during my recent vacation in the Poconos.  We stayed at a cabin in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. The town is named after Jim Thorpe, the Native American football player and Olympian who is buried there. 

Before the town was known as Jim Thorpe, it was known as Mauch Chunk. That is the Anglicized version of Mawsch Unk or "Bear Place" in the language of the Munsee-Lenape Delaware, who were the first to inhabit the area. (Interestingly, Jim Thorpe was a member of the Sac and Fox Nation, a Native American tribe that was forcibly relocated to Oklahoma.)  The reference to bears may be due to the proximity of Bear Mountain, which (before decades of mining) resembled a sleeping bear.  For this recipe, the name Mauch Chunk is a simple recipe to the place where I first divined this recipe.

The key feature of this recipe is the combined use of ground turkey and turkey sausage.  I know: the combination of sausage and ground beef is almost a regular on the menus of many chain restaurants.  However, in my experience, the typical combination involves a combination of beef and chorizo. I know because I have had a couple of those types of burgers (although not at a chain restaurant).  I wanted to experiment not just with the use of the sausage, but also the use of additional spices to make a turkey burger that went beyond the typical turkey burger.

Let's face it, most turkey burgers are bland.  At best, you get one that is properly cooked and there is still some modicum of juiciness to it.  But, the burger itself remains bland.  The addition of the turkey sausage provides a substantial amount of flavor to the burger, primarily due to the spices added to the sausage.  I wanted to take the recipe one step further, by adding some additional, albeit traditional spices, such as paprika, garlic powder and oregano. 

To help maintain the ideal juicy nature of the burger, I added some very finely diced onions.  The onions have water, which gets released during the cooking process.  Those onions will help keep the turkey moist while it is either in the oven or on the grill. The onions need to be finely diced because, to state the obvious, no one wants to bite into onions in their burger. The only bite from onions should be on top of the burger.   

The Mauch Chunk Turkey Burger was an experiment; a brief cooking experience during my down time on vacation.  My beautiful Angel loved the taste of the burger.  That reason alone means that all future turkey burgers will be built upon this experimental foundation. 

A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 5-6

1 pound of ground turkey
1/2 pound of turkey sausage (mild or hot), casing removed
1/2 yellow onion, finely minced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tomato, thickly sliced
6 bread slices, toasted

1.  Prepare the meat. Place the ground turkey and turkey sausage in a bowl.  Mix well.  Add the minced onions and garlic.  Mix well again.  Add the spices (garlic powder, paprika, oregano, salt and black pepper).  Mix one last time.  Make 5-6 patties.  

2.  Cook the burgers.  If you are using an oven, cook the burgers at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes.  Flip halfway though the grilling process.  If you are using a grill, heat to high.  Cook for about 15 minutes, flip halfway through. 

3.  Finish the dish.  Serve the burger with one slice of toast, cut in half, a tomato slice on the bottom, the burger and thinly sliced red onions on top of the burger.   Serve immediately. 


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