caprese turkey sliders

 

caprese burger

Hello, friends.

It’s August, and it’s still hot, but I’ve decided that it’s OK to do things like turn on the stove and the grill.  So, I’m happy to bring you actual food.  Like real, not made of whipped cream food.

caprese burger top

See that?  Not even a dot of whipped cream on there.

There is, however, fresh mozzarella cheese, a ripe roma tomato, basil, and drizzle of basalmic.

All of these are good things.  VERY good things.

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I cooked these turkey sliders on the stovetop, because it’s hot outside, and then topped them with a thick slice of tomato and hunk of mozzarella cheese.  Then, I popped them under the broiler for just a minute or two to blister the cheese.  Don’t buy the mozzarella that comes soaking in brine for these, I find it doesn’t do as well in this sort of application.  My grocery store usually sells theirs in the specialty cheese section, I think it comes in an 8-ounce ball.

This really is the perfect summer dinner.  I made them slider-sized because that vicious summer heat seems to decrease my appetite for some reason.  Also, more importantly, I wanted the size of the sliders to match the size of the tomato and mozzarella slices.  It’s just prettier that way.

I mixed a couple teaspoons of tomato paste into the turkey meat, but I think that some sun-dried tomatoes would be great too.  Roasting the garlic before adding it to the basil mayo would be a wonderful touch as well.

Caprese Turkey Sliders

Printable Recipe

For the burgers:

  • 2 ripe roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons basil mayo (recipe follows)
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste, or 2 Tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Dash of salt and pepper

For the mayo:

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons basil, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

For assembly:

  • 8 slider buns (I use these when I’m feeling lazy)
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese (1 8-ounce ball), sliced into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 bunch basil
  • Arugula (if desired)
  • Balsamic glaze, for drizzling

1.  Make the mayo:  In a blender or food processor combine all ingredients and process until combined.  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use, can be made up to three days in advance.

2.  Make the burgers:  Gently combine all ingredients in a bowl and form into small 3-inch patties, pressing a small divot into the center of each patty.  Refrigerate until ready to cook, can be made up to one day in advance.

3.  Cook the burgers:  Heat an oven-safe pan over medium-high heat; preheat oven broiler to high.  Salt and pepper the surface of the turkey patties and drizzle pan with oil.  Cook burgers about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, flipping once.  Flip the burgers once more and quickly top with tomato and mozzarella cheese.  Place pan under broiler and broil for 1 to 2 minutes until cheese is blistered.

4.  Assemble burgers:  Spread buns with basil mayo and top with basil, arugula, and turkey patties, drizzle with balsamic glaze or a dash of good balsamic vinegar.

caprese turkey pin

5 chile turkey burgers

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Despite the hard time I have finding good produce in the desert, during this time of year I can always count on the famous Hatch green chiles. I think, technically, their season is about up, but for the last couple weeks they’ve been flooding our grocery stores. At 50 cents a piece, I don’t have the willpower to resist!

When I get my hands on these things, I just can’t wait to roast them. Like roasting any pepper it leaves you with a soft, slightly sweeter version of what it once was. No matter what pepper it is, or how much you love the pepper raw, the roasted version puts the original to shame. A roasted hatch chile brings a smoky sweetness that perfectly complements the slightly tangy and spicy green chile pepper.

Ok, so you’ve roasted it, now what can you do with it? Just about anything, really. Throw it in some tacos, or a quesadilla, if you want to stick with the “mexican” theme. You can mix it into your scrambled eggs for a little heat or spice up a nice chip dip. Today, though, we put them on our burger. Because we can. (I know you’re shocked)… And because we’ve been a little bad lately, let’s use turkey burgers instead of beef.

Although, if you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know these are equally as taste with beef. And infinitely more adorable as sliders. Just sayin…

So, while I call these 5 chile burgers, you’re not required to use all five. Let’s count them, shall we? Hatch, Chipotle, Pepperjack (I think there’s some jalapenos in there?), then the optional asian spice from the sriracha and/or chili-garlic paste. So maybe “5 chile” is a bit of a stretch, but it’s a nice stretch that I’m willing to make, maybe I should call them “3 to 5 chile burgers”?

Oh, and don’t hate on the “chile” vs “chili” use, I use them interchangeably. I know it’s a subject of debate for some of you.

5 Chile Turkey Burgers

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 2 hatch chiles, roasted and diced
  • 1 lb ground turkey (or 1.25 lbs if that’s what size yours comes in, why do they do that, anyway?)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Pepperjack Cheese
  • Toppings of your choice (tomato, onion, lettuce)
  • Buns of your choice

Chipotle Aioli

  • ½ c mayo
  • 1 – 2 chipotles in adobo, finely minced (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs olive oil, plus extra for misting
  • 1 tsp lemon (or lime) juice
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Roast the chiles: Rub with oil and cook over a grill or under your broiler until black and bubbling on all sides. Remove from heat and place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap or in a plastic bag to steam. Once cooled, peel off the skin and finely dice. Can be made one day ahead. *See notes!
  2. Make the aioli: Mix all aioli ingredients together in a blender or small container. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made one day ahead
  3. Make the patties: Gently mix ground turkey, some salt and pepper, a tablespoon or two of the aioli, and one of your diced hatch chiles together in a bowl. What’s that? You’re feeling spicy? A dash of sriracha or chili-garlic paste will help you to kick up the heat. These may also be made one day in advance, cover tightly and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook them. They will be very delicate (and probably pretty sticky). I also like to sprinkle them with salt and pepper on the outside of the patties as well, a drizzle of oil will help to prevent them from sticking to the grill. I make 5 ¼ lb patties.
  4. Cook patties until done, at the end of cooking top with green chiles and cheese and cover until melted.
  5. Toast buns: While not necessary, this will enhance your burger experience greatly. Rub some of the aioli on your buns and grill or broil until toasted. Top with burger and toppings as desired.

Notes: 

*For some reason I always forget that I actually want to dice my chile, I know it seems weird, but just do it that way. Patty/Dice chile/ Then cheese (to hold it all together).

*Use your leftover chipotle aioli to dip your french fries in … trust me. And opt for the Ore-Ida Fast Fries, boyfriend got me hooked on those things.

*On extra lazy days, I’ve been known to use ONLY the chipotles and the mayo, and BF has never once complained.

* If you’re worried about your mouth being on fire, go ahead and use Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese. 

*Use your leftover chipotle aioli to dip your french fries in … trust me. And opt for the Ore-Ida Fast Fries, boyfriend got me hooked on those things.

five chile burger pin

 

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chipotle bacon burger

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Burgers are a relatively common dinner in our home. They can be plain or dressed up, beef or turkey, with or without cheese, on brioche or Sarah Lee. How does one eat burgers frequently without becoming bored, you ask?

Toppings!

Burgers are so easy to customize to whatever you happen to be craving. There are so many ways to spice up a burger, I could probably eat burgers every day and never get make the same one twice. Of course, I have a few favorites that tend to get stuck on repeat… but I *COULD* make a different one every day… if I really wanted to…

These, my friends, are dressed up with bacon, red onion, chipotle spread, cheddar cheese, and greens. I suppose jalapeno jack would be just as tasty on top – but we “had” to buy a(nother) two-pound brick of cheddar from Costco, so it’s been the “cheese of choice” as of late. :)

So if you’re looking for a way to “spice” up your usual burgers – give these ones a try!

Chipotle Bacon Burgers

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce (about 2 – 3 shakes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Chipotle Spread
    • 1 cup mayo
    • 1-2 chipotle pepper(s) in adobo, finely minced
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1/2 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
    • salt and pepper to taste
  • Bacon, cooked
  • Red onions (grilled or not, your choice)
  • Greens of choice (spring mix, romaine, iceberg, arugula…)
  • Cheese – I recommend Cheddar or Pepper Jack
  • Burger buns

Mix beef, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, and chipotle powder in a bowl until incorporated. Form into patties, salt the outside of the patties as well.

Make Chipotle Spread by mixing mayo, chipotle, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to use.

When ready to make the burgers – grill patties to desired doneness and top with cheese to melt. While resting, spread a light layer of chipotle spread over the buns and grill until toasted. Assemble burgers, adding additional chipotle spread if desired, and enjoy!

home-made hamburger buns

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I’ve been thinking about making my own burger buns all summer long, but for some reason they always get bumped. Probably due to my lack of patience… I don’t want to mix and wait and roll and wait and … so much waiting with bread. I want to eat it nowwwwww. Naturally, since summer is drawing to a close, I decided it would be the perfect time for me finally make them. No excuses. Even though after I started making them BF decided he wanted to go out to dinner, so we wouldn’t use them that night anyway. No excuses. I was doing this.

Was it worth it? Do you want to have buns you can happily declare you made yourself? Buns that you can say you know exactly what is in them? That you can customize to suit your taste? Most importantly, do you want your house to smell like rich, buttery deliciousness for hours to come? Then these, sir (or madame) are for you. They certainly run circles around those flavorless things you find at the grocery store.

The recipe made BIG buns, though. Like really big, like gourmet-size big (1/3-lb patty big). I think next time I will make them smaller, maybe even slider small. Eh, probably not, that sounds like a lot of rolling – but definitely smaller. I bet you could get 12 regular-size buns out of this recipe (instead of the 8 giant buns it makes as-is). The recipe itself seems pretty foolproof and there isn’t a lot of “active” time and it yields a light, airy bun with a subtle buttery flavor (and intense buttery aroma). You can top them with anything you like – I did most of them plain, but then added salt to some and onion to others (per BF’s request). If you can’t use them all right away, just slice them then wrap them tightly and freeze them. Take them out to use as you need them.

Home-Made Hamburger Buns

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons warm milk
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, cubed

1. In a small bowl, combine the warm water, milk, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a separate small bowl or ramekin, beat 1 egg and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter cubes and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, unfloured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. (You could use a mixer if you wanted, but it’s really not necessary)

3. Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange 2 to 3 inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel or greased plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled again – 1 to 2 hours.

5. Set one oven rack on the lowest level, and another in the middle. Place pan of water on lowest rack and preheat oven to 400*F. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Yield: 8 large buns, I suspect 10-12 regular-size buns.

[ Adapted from NYT, June 2009 ]

Favorite Turkey Burgers

turkey burger

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