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Heritage Turkey Burger

Related Ingredients

Tasting Notes

Typical ground turkey has a mild, neutral flavor and is so lean that it's prone to drying out, but Michael's burgers are anything but typical.

Minced dried apricots are mixed into the patties to add a floral sweetness and a little tartness that goes very well with the slightly gamey turkey meat. The combination of sage and parsley perfume the burger and bring freshness to every bite. To further enhance the flavor and ensure the burger’s juiciness, Michael adds onions and garlic that have been cooked in olive oil. Finally, he mixes in a bit of pepper-jack cheese, which adds a touch of spice and melts as the patty cooks to moisten the burger throughout.

Tips & Techniques

  1. Sweat it out. When sweating the onions and garlic, the idea is to get them soft and juicy – not to brown them. To avoid over-coloring them, cook them over very low heat.
  2. Take a chill. After the onion mixture is cooked, it needs to be completely chilled before it’s added to the burger mixture. Do this quickly by spreading it evenly across a baking dish and putting it in the fridge for 15 minutes. Hot onions will wilt the herbs in the burger mixture on contact, but if all the ingredients are cool, the herbs will keep their vibrant green color.
  3. Pack it in. When you’re molding the burger patties, pack the meat as tightly as possible. This will help the burgers to cook evenly and will help keep them intact as they cook.


This tool is one we find especially helpful when making this dish.

  1. 4-inch cookie cutter (or ring mold). For restaurant-perfect patties, pack your burger meat into a cookie cutter or ring mold. This will help make consistently sized portions, which will cook evenly.

The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.

  • Large glass bowl
  • Spice grinder
  • Medium-sized sautoir (2 to 3-inch sides)
  • Optional: 4-inch ring molds with press
  • Rubber spatula
  • Tweezers
  • Rubber gloves
  • Parchment paper
  • Grill, grill pan or cast iron pan
  • Small baking sheet or plate
  • Cake tester
  • Metal spatula

  • 2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 2 teaspoons whole mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seed
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced white onion (about ½ small white onion)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 1 pound ground fresh turkey meat (16 ounces), 50/50 mix of breast and leg meat or a mixture of 93% or 94% lean ground turkey meat
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper-jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • ¼ cup minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 turns freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 brioche burger buns
  • Softened butter

Yield: 4 (4-ounce) patties

Total Time: 1 hour

Active Time: 1 hour

  1. Combine the fennel seeds, cumin, mustard seeds and coriander in a small sauté pan and toast over medium heat until fragrant (about 2 minutes.) Let cool completely.
  2. Grind spices together in a spice grinder. Set aside.
  3. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once olive oil begins to shimmer, add the diced onions and sweat until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes more or until soft.  Transfer the mixture to a plate and let cool completely.
  4. Place the ground turkey in a large bowl. Add the shredded cheese, ground spices, sage, parsley, apricots and panko breadcrumbs to the ground turkey. Season with salt and pepper and mix to combine ingredients. Now, add cooled onions and incorporate into the turkey burger mixture.
  5. Place ring mold over baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Divide turkey mixture into four portions and roll into in balls that are about the size of a baseball. At this point, if you are using the ring mold, press one ball into ring mold and press meat down with press. Now season with salt and pepper. Remove ring and store patty in refrigerator until ready to cook. Repeat with other balls. If you are not using a ring mold, you can also form the patties with your hands.
  6. Heat a grill, grill pan or cast iron pan over medium high heat. Spray grill with non-stick spray or drizzle cast iron pan with grapeseed oil.
  7. Place burgers onto hot pan.Cook the burger for 4-5 minutes on each side. The burgers are done when a cake tester inserted into the center of the burger comes out warm —the internal temperature should reach 140°F.
  8. Right before serving, toast the buns and spread with the chipotle aioli. Place a spoonful of Lime Guacamole on the center of the bottom bun and place a few of the quick-pickled veggies on top of the avocado, followed by the cooked burger patty. Cut each bun in half and serve.

Here is a great way to turn this dish into a meal

Pasta with turkey meatballs & parmesan cheese

Roll the burger mix into meatballs and cook them in a little olive oil on the stovetop. Serve the turkey meatballs over pasta that has been dressed with butter, Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.