Southwestern Turkey Cheddar Burgers with Grilled Onions and Chipotle-Poblano Ketchup

Without fail during the summer, either ground turkey or ground chicken is on my shopping list every single week. And while some of it might be used for meatloaf or meatballs, burgers are the more likely end result this time of year. I handle assembly of the burgers, and then Shane takes over, heading outside to grill them up. Minimal prep and super easy clean-up – that’s definitely my kind of summer meal.

Even when it’s too rainy to grill outside (ahem, the entire month of June), it’s not much more effort or mess to throw the burgers on my grill pan inside. Actually, I kind of take that back; I love my grill pan but washing it is one of my least favorite tasks ever. All the crevices! Still totally worth it in the end, but there’ll probably be some grumbling as I stand over the sink scrubbing :)

Southwestern Turkey-Cheddar Burgers with Grilled Onions and Chipotle-Poblano Ketchup

We’ve made these southwestern turkey-cheddar burgers at least two or three times, using both ground turkey and lean ground beef, and have enjoyed them equally with both. The spices in the burgers give them great flavor, but don’t actually add much heat. That’s what the chipotle-poblano ketchup is for! And even there, you could adjust the heat to your own preferences by adding more or less of the chipotles. These burgers include a somewhat unusual ingredient that you’d probably not expect – wheat germ. No one was more skeptical about this addition than Shane, but we didn’t think you could detect it once the burgers were cooked. Healthy burgers for the win! I’m obsessed with onions so the grilled onions on top were the icing on the cake for me, but Shane skipped them as well as the ketchup and still declared these a winner so feel free to make them your own.

Oh, and don’t pay any attention to my sad crushed burger rolls. They were buried under a mound of ice cream in the freezer and looked a little worse for the wear when I pulled them out the night I planned to photograph this recipe. It happens :)

Southwestern Turkey-Cheddar Burgers with Chipotle-Poblano Ketchup
barely adapted from Cooking Light, August 2007

Chipotle-Poblano Ketchup
1 poblano chile
1 cup ketchup
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Burgers
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1/3 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
6 slices cheddar cheese

To Serve
1/2-inch-thick slices sweet onion
burger rolls, toasted

To make the ketchup: Preheat your broiler. Place the poblano on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil for about 8-10 minutes, turning a few times so the pepper is blackened all over (you could also do this on your stove top if you have a gas stove). Transfer to a resealable plastic bag and set aside for 15 minutes (or until cool enough to handle). Remove from the bag and peel the blackened skin. Finely chop the pepper, removing the ribs and seeds. In a small bowl, stir together the poblano, ketchup, chipotle chiles and cumin. Refrigerate while you make the burgers (the ketchup will be fine in the fridge for a few weeks so feel free to make it ahead of time).

To make the burgers: In a medium bowl, combine the onion, wheat germ, chile powder, cumin, salt, red pepper, and ground turkey. Use your hands to gently mix until everything is combined (don’t overwork the meat). Divide the meat into 6 equal portions and shape each into a patty about 1/2-inch thick. Make a deep depression in the center of each burger with your thumb (this will help them keep their shape as they cook).

Set a grill pan over medium-high heat. Spritz with nonstick cooking spray. When the pan is hot, add the burgers (the side with the impression should be face-up) and cook for about 4 minutes per side, or until they are cooked through (an instant-read thermometer should register 165 F). In the last minute of cooking, top each burger with one slice of cheese and allow to melt (I like to tent the burgers with foil to encourage the cheese to melt). Remove the burgers from the pan and allow to rest for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, place the thick onion slices on the grill pan and cook for about 4 minutes per side, or until they are tender and browned. Serve the burgers on toasted rolls topped with the grilled onions and chipotle-poblano ketchup.

Makes 6 burgers