Last week I literally had a fourplex cabinet fall on me. Would one call that a fourplex? Well, whatever, four cabinets fell on me while I was cooking in my kitchen. I was making what I thought was going to be a delicious meal- garbanzo and mushroom burgers– and, instead, I was nearly crushed to death by my own dishes and food. I was standing at my sink, heard a creak, and looked up to see cabinets falling at me. This was the result
All of my dishes broken, I’m still waiting for my apartment building to reimburse my damages for something that was completely their fault and not mine. I know it’s only been a few days, but I don’t understand the delay. It took my mother, sister, and me an hour to clean it all up, and I imagine it would have taken me triple that to do on my own.
I mention this because I was making something of a burger, but a healthy one. For dinner tonight, I thought I wanted something burger-y again, and I did still have the wheat buns. I landed on making turkey burgers because they were still healthy but fulfilled my need for something meaty. Insert joke here.
I looked online for turkey burger recipes, and the reviews for all of them I found said the same thing: they’re dry. So I tried to find a recipe where the burger wouldn’t be dry, and I landed on Ellie Krieger’s Stuffed Turkey Burgers.
When it comes to cooking for me, I have a few things I look for and will review the recipe upon:
1. Taste. Obviously, that matters, right?
2. Ease of cooking. I’m an amateur (on a good day) cook, so it needs to be simple.
3. Amount of clean-up. I don’t like a lot of it.
4. Value. I’m poor and don’t like spending money.
So I’ll go through my experience with it, and give you my rating, recommendation, whatever.
The recipe is really simple in terms of ingredients. Just ground turkey, roasted red peppers, mozzarella, and salt and pepper. I’ve photographed them for you here. For your viewing pleasure!
I had to purchase all of the ingredients except the buns which, as mentioned, survived the Stock (of all of my dishes and food) Crash of 2011. It destroyed my spices too, so I even had to buy the salt and pepper. I could have easily roasted my own red peppers, but it’s approximately 12 billion degrees in the midwest today, so I wanted to avoid doing anything other than cooking the burgers.
The recipe itself calls for skim milk mozzarella which, for whatever reason, I couldn’t find. I also probably didn’t look for it very hard. I did see fat free mozzarella which, in retrospect, I’m super glad I didn’t buy. I have what many would call an unhealthy relationship with cheese, mostly in that I eat more of it than any man should. While preparing the burgers I had to stop myself from doing that fat kid thing (or, really, that every person thing) where you grab as much cheese as you can between your thumb and pointer finger and eat it. And then you do that like seven more times. Because I’m trying not to be so gigantic, I physically restrained myself from doing it this time. SUCCESS.
When I started to actually put the burgers together it was really very simple. I got out a cutting board to chop the peppers, and I guestimated the measurements for them and the cheese. It worked out. Turns out I’m awesome at using math to estimate measurements. Okay, fine, it had nothing to do with math.
So you make four patties, make two out of each of those for a total of eight, then add in the peppers and cheese and re-smush them. I got all into that, forgot to take a picture of it, and just decided to take one apart and show you that:
And considering the aforementioned 24 trillion degrees it was in Missouri today, I was not about to travel to the roof of my building and use their grill. Also, I’ve never operated a grill of any sort. I’m 27 and I’ve never actually grilled out. My friends usually handle it. I’ll have to add that to the plan for this blog. Anyway, I used my friend George, the friend of every bachelor:
The Foreman cooked the burgers quickly and it did indeed make some nice grill marks on them. I’m stupid and forgot to salt and pepper the first two, but I saved the last two. I added some red leaf lettuce I had in the fridge as well as some tomato slices. For a side dish, my grandmother brought me some fresh corn and I used the GFG on that one too. I put melted butter with lime and cilantro on the corn (not too much- maybe three teaspoons?) thanks to inspiration from this recipe.
Pretty, right? It’s sort of this all-American meal thing, much the way our founding fathers intended it. But healthier.
The first thing I noticed is that the buns were quite a bit larger than the burger itself. I don’t think I could have made the burgers any larger, so that was a negative, but something easily solvable. Actually, to the end of the buns, I wouldn’t use the wheat buns on this again. The wheat flavor really overpowered the other flavors. Turkey doesn’t have much taste really to begin with, so I was looking for the flavors of the mozzarella and roasted peppers. I think with a more strongly flavored burger they would work really well. They were tender, which sometimes wheat items can be super tough.
The burger itself was good but not great. Forgetting the seasoning really didn’t help, but even when I had a second burger (obviously they were good enough for seconds) that was seasoned it was a bit underwhelming. The meat could have used some additional seasoning or herbs- maybe some oregano or parsley. Maybe even something spicy like cayenne. As I ate the burger and found the stuffing, I could taste the peppers through all the accoutrements, but the cheese may as well have not been there. Maybe putting a slice of mozzarella on top of the burger and melting it would have been more noticeable.
The corn was delicious, though. The original recipe calls for handling everything differently, but drizzling the melted butter over the cob itself was, I’m sure, just as delicious. I also just completely skipped the cheese that recipe calls for- didn’t miss it at all, really.
To top the whole dinner off, I bought a six pack of Hornsby’s Hard Apple Cider. I have tried other hard ciders before and usually like them, but this one was particularly delicious because it wasn’t cloyingly sweet or sour. It struck a great balance between sweet and bitter- I’ll definitely be trying it again. It cost $9.27, which is not bad for a six pack of adult boozage.
So as for my little rating system for the meal, I’ll use grades because I’m a teacher and I’m hilarious and clever:
Taste: Taking just the burger into consideration rather than the overwhelming bun, I think it was a nice attempt at flavoring what could be a bland burger. The peppers were great and kept the meat moist in the middle (innuendo unintended). The cheese, as mentioned, was not really noticeable inside the burger. I’ll give this burger a B-.
Ease of cooking: Really easy. I’ve never made a “stuffed” burger before, and I would definitely do it again. It gets an A here.
Amount of clean-up: Not a whole bunch- I wish I would have saved myself a plate to clean by just mixing the burgers in the package it came in rather than in another bowl then transferring those burgers to another plate. My fault. I’ll give it an A-.
Value: I won’t count the cost of the salt and pepper because most people already have them. The jar of peppers was about $3.50- but buying your own red pepper to roast would be much cheaper. The turkey was about $5.50 and the mozzarella was about $2.50 for a total of $12.00, and I’ll get two meals out of it.A $6.00 isn’t all that bad, but it could have been a lot cheaper if I’d done some of the work myself. I’ll give it a B. Edit- I’ll get three meals! I had a burger for lunch the next day with some home made cole slaw on the side. Pretty good as leftovers, but I would not make the cole slaw again. Perhaps a recipe review of that one coming later.
Overall, I’ll make this again using a “regular” bun. I’ll also melt the cheese on top and mix the peppers into the patty rather than stuff them. Final grade: B+. Solid effort, Ellie Krieger.