24 July 2014

Chimichurri Turkey Burgers with Avocado

I have always been a sucker for condiments.  Ketchup, barbecue sauce, pickled jalapenos, tomato relish, pesto, creamed honey...if you can spread it, I can overindulge.  Where most would be happy with a tablespoon or so, it seems I always need about a quarter cup to satisfy my craving.  This is also the reason I hoard emptied food jars like a crazy person...it seems there are always more sauces like this delightful chimichurri that need to stored. 

This Argentinian sauce is an absolute must in our household come grilling season.  Incredibly easy yet elegant, it's the perfect sauce to impress dinner guests on a gorgeous day that is better spent biking/sunning/sailing than slaving in the kitchen.  Two of my girlfriends first introduced me to chimichurri after they studied abroad in Argentina for a semester in college.  They ate it over various cuts of steak practically every day for five months....and still weren't sick of that pungent, fresh flavor.  Now that's a sauce that simply demands a sampling. 

I can never decide which I like better....the ease of preparation or the fresh flavor.  The abundance of parsley and garlic balance out the olive oil and chili flakes for a wonderfully round and satisfying sauce.  To prepare, you just blend all your ingredients in a food processor and walk away for a few hours.  It's a win all around...until you get sick of beef or lamb.  Luckily chimichurri is just as delicious on chicken or turkey, like these fabulous little turkey burgers we whipped up one night last week.  

The chimichurri does double duty here by both seasoning the meat and topping off the piles of deliciousness below to perfection.  The lighter flavor of turkey is a great contrast to the darker complexion of red meats, and creamy avocado balances the heat to perfection.  We enjoyed sharp cheddar with our burgers, but pepper jack would also be delicious for you foodies who enjoy a little summer heat.  It's a perfect outdoor meal with a light side salad and a refreshing cocktail...and one that I intend to eat again very soon.

Chimichurri Turkey Burgers with Avocado (3-4 burgers)
  • 1 1/2 lb lean ground turkey 
  • 1/2 c chimichurri (recipe below)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 avocado
  • 3-4 slices cheddar cheese 
  • 3-4 burger buns (we use whole wheat thin buns)
  • additional chimichurri, to garnish
  • sliced tomato, onion & spinach/mixed greens

Comine the ground turkey, 1/2 cup of chimichurri, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium mixing bowl.  Mix with your hands until well combined.  Form into 3-4 patties (depending on how big you like you burgers) then make a small divot in the center of the burger (to prevent burger bulge).  Transfer patties to a plate, cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Once the patties have been formed, prepare your toppings.  Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit with a knife.  While the fruit is still in the skin, cut into slices with a pairing knife.  Gently use a spoon to remove the sliced avocado, then sprinkle with lime juice to prevent browning.  Slice the cheddar, tomatoes, onions and any additional toppings at this time as well. 

Preheat the grill or a grill man to medium-high heat.  When the surface is hot, transfer the burgers onto the grate and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the meat is opaque around the edges and the patty can easily lifted from the grilling surface with a spatula.  Flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes, topping with cheese when you have about 2 minutes left on your cook time.  Transfer to a clean plate and tent with foil, letting the burgers rest for 2-3 minutes (a great time to toast the buns, if desired).

To assemble the burger, place the bottom bun on a plate and top with several leaves of spinach or lettuce (this helps prevent the bun from getting soggy) along with sliced onion or tomato, if desired.  Transfer a turkey burger onto the prepared bottom, then top with several slices of avocado.  Drizzle with additional chimichurri (I like about 1-2 tablespoons) and finish with the top of the bun.  Serve with your favorite burger sides and a refreshing la paloma.  

Lemon Thyme Chimichurri
Adapted from Food & Wine
  • 1/3 c parsley leaves
  • 3 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 2 tbs lemon thyme (or oregano for traditional chimichurri)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor.  Pulse for about a minute, until the garlic and herbs are well chopped.  Add 1/4 c olive oil and process until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and pour the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil over the chimichurri.  Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, then fold in the olive oil.  Chimichurri can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

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