Saturday, February 21, 2009

Guest Recipe: Turkey Burgers by Sonny Amou

This recipe was kindly submitted by my friend Sonny Amou. He is a great writer and quite creative in the kitchen as well! Here is his recipe for unbelievably tasty turkey burgers and a little background behind it too. Thanks Sonny!

During my last full year at the University of Iowa, I lived with roommates that ate a boatload of my food. After getting into some heavy duty arguments, I struck a deal with them, that if they paid for the ingredients, I’d make batches of this recipe, make them on Friday afternoon in large quantities and they could do whatever they wanted. Harmony was achieved. This isn’t the exact recipe, at best it’s a calculated guess. I’ve made it a number of different ways over the years and kept losing the recipe – this is based on the most recent recipe M. found on the back of a post-it note about three years ago. In fact, I’ve made a couple of tweaks since I made these for Christmas Eve dinner. The key elements that have stayed the same, however are (1) the onions are always embedded in the burger, (2) the powder ingredients are mixed in the egg, and (3) tabasco sauce and cajun seasoning have always been the core seasonings of the recipe. Beyond that if you want to mix things up, go ahead.


1 pound lean ground turkey
4 egg whites or 1/2 cup egg substitute
¾ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 medium white onion
1 – 3 shakes of tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon. red pepper flakes
½ tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons. cajun seasoning


(1) Slice onion in half, coarsely chop half into dime-sized pieces and set aside. This is already a heck of a lot of onions, so if you want more, either (a) dice up other half, or (b) slice other half condiment style and place with tomatoes and lettuce or whatever else you put on the condiment tray.
(2) Using a large bowl, take egg whites/substitute and beat vigorously.
(3) Stir in all powdered ingredients into eggs and continue mixing.
(4) Add ground turkey and onion and knead egg/powder mix until it is evenly distributed
(5) Add bread crumbs, same deal…knead into turkey mix until evenly distributed
(6) Add tabasco sauce and knead for a bit. Then let the mix marinate for about 20 minutes in the fridge.
(7) Break into sand-dollar sized patties and place on wax paper. You should have about 4-6, it varies from batch to batch.


(1) Warm up skillet on medium heat and spray surface with cooking spray
(2) Place patties onto skillet and cook, flipping every 2-4 minutes.
(3) You should be pretty close to done when the burgers start to blacken and they resemble giant salmon croquettes-orange/red color.
(4) Place onto preheated burger buns and enjoy.

Misc. tips:

(1) Initially, do not press down on patties until the end with the spatula. I still make this mistake from time to time. Ideally, the egg and breadcrumbs will act as a sort of paste that holds everything together. Usually by the third or fourth flip, you can tell the paste has done its job, and you can press down on them then, if that’s your thing.
(2) Assume you’re going to lose some of the onion bits on the grill while you flip them. What I’ve always done is let them carmelize in the skillet, then scoop them into a saucer or small dish, adding them onto the bun after the cooking part is done.

Make 4 -6 servings (6 small or 4 large burgers)

Serving size: 1 small size patty Calories 130 Protein 18 g Carb 5 g Fiber <1 g Sugars 1 g Fat 5 g saturated fat 1.5 g Sodium 1040 mg

Serving size: 1 large size patty Calories 200 Protein 26 g Carb 7 g Fiber 1 g Sugars 2 g Fat 8 g saturated fat 2 g Sodium 1570 mg


Anonymous,  February 27, 2009 at 12:45 PM  

Thanks for plugging my recipe. I've done this batch again twice in the past month and it's starting to come back to me.

Alternate ingredient swap: if this isn't spicy enough for you, swap out the paprika for chili powder. Either way is fine, I remember downgrading to paprika because w/ chili powder it was a little on the rich side for "roommate" #1.


Marie February 28, 2009 at 7:17 AM  

You are welcome Sonny, thank YOU for submitting. Glad you liked the pasta/squash recipe!

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