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Stuffed Turkey Burgers Florentine

July 29, 2011

JULY 13th, 2011 — I like the ideas of burgers and hot dogs (I mean sausages) and all, but if I’m going to have something like that, it’d better be packed with sharp flavors, not with the bland but heavy taste of a 4th of July BBQ meal. That’s why buying ground meat and making my own burgers or sausages would appeal to me. (I usually am attracted to ground pork or turkey, because it’s just leaner.)

This was bomb. Spinach and cheese is always a winning combination in just about everything, stuffed chicken roulades, raviolis, lasagna, wrapped up in phyllo dough for spanakopita. I believe “Florentine” is the correct term in Italian cuisine, when something is prepared with spinach and cheese.

So what did you do?
Familiarize yourself with the ground meat, by getting your fingers in and just kneading it into a bit of a paste, but don’t overwork it. Burgers gotta have some texture to them. Divide your meat into your portions, however much meat you want for each burger, and then divide each portion in half, and make two slightly thinner rounds.
Tip: If there’s one thing that I can take from 30-Minute Meals with Rachael Ray, it’s that burgers bulge up in the center when you cook ’em, so make sure the center of your burger rounds are thinner than the edges.
Now, you can start layering! I put in lightly cooked (and lightly seasoned) spinach, and then a layer of shredded mozzarella on top of one patty, and then put the other patty round on top. Seal the edges together well. You don’t want a sandwich, right?
We don’t have a grill, so I just pan-fried them, and into a frying pan with canola oil we go. I heavily seasoned with salt, pepper, and oregano on one side, and after about 3-5 minutes, you can flip your burger over and immediately season the other side, while it’s still cooking and absorbing flavor.
When they were done, I decided to place them on a paper towel to blot out extra oil. I had put quite a bit in the pan, but it was great because it made the burger especially juicy.

This first time my roommate Jane and I ate these, we went ahead lo-carb style (like they do at The Counter) and just plopped the patty onto a salad of more spinach, diced tomatoes, peaches, and balsamic vinaigrette.
However, a few days later, for leftovers, I put it on slices of a La Brea whole-grain loaf (one of the best whole-grain breads I’ve had), with a drizzle of that Chipotle-Tabasco sauce.

Lessons learned?
From my experience with these turkey burgers, I learned (by tasting) that turkey is a very lean meat, which means dry and bland. I was a little nervous that I may have gone overboard with the oil and the seasoning, but it was so juicy and good. You should also try to stuff as much as you can in the center, so make the patties thin in the center, but do respect the edges, though who cares if a little cheese and spinach bleeds out the sides a bit? The more stuffing you have, the less dry turkey you might have in each bite too.

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