Juicy Turkey Burgers with Onion Jam

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 50 min (includes resting time)
  • Active: 55 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Onions:

3 medium red onions, halved and thinly sliced

1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil 

Kosher salt 

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar 

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 

Juice from jarred cornichons, optional 

Burgers:

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons canola oil 

1 1/2 cups chicken stock 

4 slices American cheese 

4 seeded potato hamburger buns, toasted 

10 to 12 cornichons, halved lengthwise 

Directions

  1. Prepare the onion jam: Heat a large saute pan. Toss in the onion slices with the oil and a generous pinch of salt. Add the sugar and cook over medium heat until the onions are caramelized and tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and if a splash of juice from the cornichon jar, if using, and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.
  2. For the burgers: Break up the meat in a medium bowl, spreading it up the sides of the bowl so that the seasoning really permeates the meat. Sprinkle with the Worcestershire and salt. Mix with your hands, but do not overmix. (The more you work the meat, the tougher the burger.) Gingerly form the meat into four round 1-inch-thick patties. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet and add the oil. When the oil begins to smoke lightly, arrange the patties in a single layer at a distance from one another. Let cook, undisturbed, until the bottoms brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the patties and let the bottoms brown again, 3 to 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low, then add the stock to the skillet and cover. Simmer until the patties are cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the lid, shut off the heat under the skillet and place a slice of cheese on each patty. Let the patties rest with the heat off until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Transfers the patties to a plate or cutting board and let rest for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Reduce the remaining liquid in the skillet by half, about 5 minutes, and serve it on the side of the burgers. People can spoon this liquid over the burgers instead of or in addition to ketchup. You can also just add this reduced liquid to the onion jam to enrich the flavor.
  5. Assemble the burgers: Arrange the bun bottoms on a work surface. Spoon some of the onion jam on each and top with one of the patties. Top with more jam and a few slices of cornichon. Top with the bun tops.

Cook’s Note

There are so many ways to make a hamburger and I don't think we Americans ever get tired of the "research." I love a plain burger, but I also love adding extra flavor to the meat mixture. Some people like to mix butter into their burgers, but I go back to one of my big childhood favorites: Worcestershire. You can use ground turkey breast or thigh meat here. The thigh meat is juicier by nature but less lean. Cooking them in stock yields a tender burger either way. What about cheese? I lived in France and enjoyed the finest goat cheeses from the Loire Valley and the tastiest cow's milk tomme from the French Alps. I also happen to love melted American cheese at the right time and place, and this burger is that place. I always serve cornichon pickles (or bread-and-butter slices) along with the onion jam.

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