March 25, 2013

Pin It Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Sour Cream Sumac Sauce - Cook the Books

Taken From: Jerusalem: A Cookbook
Photo Courtesy of Jerusalem: A Cookbook 
Alright, so you'll notice that I took very few pictures for this post.  That was mostly due to the fact that I almost burnt down my apartment building.  Ok, ok, maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but I did manage to fill my apartment and the hallways with smoke and I set off the building's (not my apartment but the entire building's) fire alarm.

Managed to freak out some of my neighbors but everything was ok in the end. The problem was that the recipe said to sear the burgers in a pan first, then place them on a waxed paper lined baking sheet and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes. I should have known better.  I accidentally used waxed paper while making cookies in the past and I knew the end result: a ton of smoke fills your oven and apartment. Rookie move.

Apparently at high temperatures, the wax on the paper can melt and will transfer to whatever you are baking. It's food grade wax so it's not toxic, but still not something you want on your baked goods. Here is where the real problem lies (at least for me): The wax also has a fairly low smoke point, which means that any exposed wax paper will smoke while it is in the oven.  There is also a possibility that if you are cooking something that requires a very long bake time or a very high temperature, the paper could actually catch fire. Awesome! So here is my cautionary tale: Don't substitute wax paper for parchment paper during baking, even if it's in the directions for a recipe.

After I got over the embarrassment of setting off the building's fire alarm and freaking out my neighbors, I got to sit down and enjoy these burgers, and they were delicious! They were super moist which was a nice change for a turkey burger. I think the grated zucchini helped add some additional moisture to the burgers and the searing/oven baking helped lock it in.

The sour cream and sumac sauce was also delicious. Unique, but very flavorful and it complimented the burgers nicely.

The directions for the recipe were a little odd as there were some discrepancies throughout about what you were actually making. I thought I was making burgers and the recipe's yield says it makes "18 burgers," but in the directions it refers to them as meatballs.  I assume they mean sliders but even still, they'd have to be pretty small sliders to get 18 from this recipe.  Do whatever you like. I decided to make 4 decent sized burgers and that worked out well.

Ingredients (yields 18 mini burgers or 4 burgers)
1 pound ground turkey
1 large zucchini, coarsely grated (2 cups)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large egg
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
~ 6 1/2 tablespoons sunflower oil, for searing (I used olive oil)

Sour Cream & Sumac Sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sumac
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 425. 
Make sour cream sauce first by mixing together all the ingredients in a small bowl and chilling until needed.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the burgers, except the oil. Mix with your hands then shape into 18 burgers (or 4 large).

Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to form a layer about 1/16 inch thick on the bottom of the pan. Heat over medium heat until hot, then sear burgers in batches on each side. Cook each batch for about 4 minutes, adding oil as need, until golden brown.

Transfer seared burgers to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (not waxed paper like the recipe actually says). Place them in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve warm or at room temperature with sauce spooned over or on the side.

I cooked for 14 minutes for 4 large burgers, and they turned out great!

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