A “Duck” to rule over Turkey….burgers

If you have never tried duck fat for cooking….you’re missing out on a delicious alternative to olive oil and butter. Maybe not quite as healthy as olive oil, but definitely a more flavorful venture, in my opinion!

During the summer, when I came home from Williams-Sonoma with a jar of duck fat (purchasing the item with a gift card, purely on a whim to amp up our cooking), Matt was a little perplexed….I mean, what does one use duck fat for? Initially, he had assumed that the Ancho Chili Powder (also purchased on a whim…you will soon understand I am notorious for this) would yield better results with our meals than duck fat. (Funnily enough, we have yet to find a meal that has been made better by a specialty chili powder….although taco nights do seem to take the top spot…more on that later.)

And then it hit me….turkey! We had purchased a package of ground turkey meat since it was ridiculously cheap (gotta love sales) and had thought of making turkey burgers to try and vary up our menu. With the duck fat, I suggested using it to cook the burgers, to which Matt quickly agreed. Add a little bread crumb and egg here, onion soup mix (because the dried onions re-hydrate with meat flavor–yummy) there, and some Worcestershire sauce….and behold….turkey burger bliss was born!

Now, duck fat can get a little pricey (depending on where you get it, Williams-Sonoma was $15.00), but just one jar can yield quite a few meals. We have made these turkey burgers at least half a dozen times and we still have half a jar (give or take) left. (And if you still want to save a little, save your bacon fat! Any fatty meat that produces grease can be utilized in cooking….although I would still recommend giving the duck a try, because it’s just that damn tasty. Also, refrigerate any fat that you do have–cold fat is easier to scoop and less messy!)

Sometimes, those “on a whim” buys can truly produce some of the greatest meals. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous from time to time. You don’t need to go all out and get crazy in the kitchen–keep it simple and incorporate 1-2 new items into a dish….the risk is worth it.

Enjoy!

~ Jenny V


turkeyburger

Turkey Burger “Bliss”

1 package ground turkey

1/2 to 1 package Onion Soup Mix (depending on how much you like onion flavor)

1/2 cup bread crumbs (I usually don’t measure this out, but 1/2 cup is a good place to start and you can always add more if needed. Turkey meat is a lot leaner than beef.)

1 egg

Worcestershire Sauce, as needed

8 slices of cheese (Matt and I normally do half of the burgers with Swiss and the other half with American, but pick a nice melty cheese that you enjoy! Or if you’re not into cheese, no worries, because this burger is packed with flavor.)

1 package of hamburger rolls (or not, if you’re looking to lessen the carbs, skip the bun!)

Condiments (Onions, Tomatoes, Pickles, BBQ Sauce, Ketchup, etc., whatever you prefer! Personally, I make mine with Onions, Tomatoes, Pickle Relish, and BBQ Sauce…but the choice is all yours.)

1-2 tablespoons of duck fat (maybe more, keep this on hand while cooking)

1) In a bowl, combine ground turkey, egg, bread crumb, Worcestershire, and Onion Soup mix until thoroughly mixed. Score the mixture into 8 identical patties, pressing them a little flatter since meat shrinks up when it cooks. Once pressed, lay them on a plate four at a time, then place down a sheet of wax paper to place the remainder on top. Refrigerate for at least 10-15 minutes to let the patties get some cohesiveness, since turkey meat is leaner and feels a lot softer than ground beef.

2) In a cast-iron pan (or frying pan, griddle, something that has a flat surface with no grates), heat up the two tablespoons of duck fat, allowing it to melt. Once thoroughly heated, place the burgers in the pan, browning on both sides. Cook burgers thoroughly, roughly between 8-10 minutes. (You may need to cook these in batches, so be prepared to add more duck fat into the pan as needed.)

3) Before burgers are done, and have been flipped, place desired cheese on top (if you want) and cover pan, allowing cheese to melt. Once cheese is thoroughly melted, place burger on bun (or not, for the carb-friendly folks) and top with desired condiments. (A little tip: if you have fried onion rings, may I suggest one of those on top? Holy deliciousness Batman!)

A Slice of Jenn….

Just like meeting someone new, I believe introductions are in order.

Hi, I’m Jenn, and before meeting my wonderful husband (Matt, who you will probably read a lot about here)….I was cooking-challenged. Of course, I knew how to cook, thanks in part to high school cooking classes being made part of my core requirement, but to apply those skills?

Not so much.

Matt still makes the joke that I used to microwave hot dogs before him. (I still have on occasion…he has no idea how delicious they can be when you’re in a bind to eat something quick!)

So as our relationship progressed, so did I under Matt’s tutelage of cooking. He showed me the basics of knife skills, so that I could be his sous-chef. He taught me the importance of knowing how certain ingredients cook and why you should know the hot spots on your heat source. He demonstrated how to prep various meats. And most importantly, he was patient enough to show me these skills over and over again until I felt confident enough to try them on my own.

(I’ll tell you, I think it’s one of the many reasons I love him so much.)

With that said, our relationship grew in part to the way we cooked together. The ying and yang of the kitchen, so to speak. Food became less about takeout and more about finding new recipes to try.

When I got my KitchenAid, I was attempting to fine-tune my baking skills so Matt could have fresh cookies instead of the preservative-laden junk that has sat on the shelf for months. After cookies, we tried fresh bread and rolls. After that, pies and cheesecake….which I am proud to say I successfully mastered.

And especially after the bridal shower, we were finally able to take our cooking/baking to the next level with new gadgets to test out more advanced recipes.

Which brings me to here….why I decided to start a food blog. More and more lately, Matt and I have made it a point to try new creations, whether it be from a recipe or something that we come up with on our own. As Matt always reminds me, a recipe is a “snapshot” of that moment when it was made, and while it is good, there is always room to tweak it a little. (Except chocolate chip cookies….I think my husband is addicted to my recipe. Lol.)

So, come prepared with your appetite as I share some of our favorite dishes, new concoctions, and everything in between.

~ Jenny V