How to Make a Turkey Burger

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  • vegetable oil
  • onion, diced
  • crimini mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • ground turkey, white and dark meat
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • kosher salt
  • white pepper
  • panko breadcrumbs

Courtney Parks, managing chef of Open City and The Diner, Washington, D.C., enjoys transforming food and that’s what he does with his turkey burger.

“I like taking food in different directions,” he says. “This is a way to do that—taking the ground turkey, which can be dry or bland, and giving it a little something extra. People don’t expect it to be as moist or as meaty as it comes out to be.”

To give that meatiness, Parks uses crimini mushrooms, which, he says, “have beefier flavor, more depth of flavor.” His turkey burger, he says, tastes as close to a beef burger as it can, without coming from a cow.

He also uses Worcestershire Sauce to “highlight the beefiness,” he says. “It layers a couple of flavors to give it that richness.”

And he prefers panko over regular breadcrumbs because it’s sturdier and holds the burger together. Next up, he hopes, will be a gluten-free burger using quinoa in place of panko.

  1. Heat oil and sauté onion over medium heat until lightly browned. Add mushrooms and stir to mix. Sauté until mushrooms are fully cooked and most liquid has evaporated. Set aside to cool.
  2. In mixing bowl combine turkey, Worcestershire Sauce, salt and white pepper.
  3. Process mushroom mix in food processor until coarsely chopped, then add to turkey mixture. Add breadcrumbs and mix well with hands.
  4. Refrigerate mix until chilled, and then form into four equal patties.
  5. Cook on flat grill or in cast iron pan.
  6. Serve on a simple bun like a potato bun or a wholewheat bun that’s not too grainy, with simple condiments.

Courtney Parks learned his profession from the ground up in Philadelphia. In 1995, he moved to Washington, D.C., and in 2000, he opened The Diner, which transformed the Adams Morgan neighborhood into a vibrant restaurant and retail corridor. After a stint in Chicago at Fox and Obel, Courtney returned to Washington to help launch Open City, the sister restaurant of The Diner, where the goal was to redefine the boundaries of what a ‘diner’ can be.