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Seriously Simple: Grilled Turkey Burgers with Ricotta Cheese

| Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, 4:19 p.m.
Turkey Burgers with Ricotta Cheese.

I've never been big on turkey burgers. That is, until I worked out this recipe that offers a delectable flavor and a moist texture. I've tried ones that use pureed fruit and chutneys to jazz them up, but they mostly fall apart. I've tried just using the turkey with salt and pepper, and now we are talking seriously dry. This ricotta-laced burger seems to add a subtle, cheesy richness and the necessary moistness for a great burger.

These turkey burgers have a tangy flavor from the Dijon and Worcestershire, as well as a slightly caramelized, crisp crust from the ricotta cheese. And they stay juicy inside. What more can you ask for in a burger? Look for lean ground turkey that combines light and dark meat together. Leanest ground turkey will be too dry because it is from only the turkey breast.

If you happen to have a cast-iron skillet, you will have great results cooking these burgers because the pan cooks evenly and holds in the heat. One thing to be aware of is that the burgers can burn because of the ricotta, so watch carefully. In order to keep them from burning, the last part of the cooking is done on a lower heat, with the pan being partially covered to keep in the moisture.

Feel free to improvise here with flavors you love. Add a tablespoon of sun-dried tomato or basil pesto if you wish. You can finish these with just lettuce and tomato or embellish with slices of red onion and sharp cheddar cheese. Use your favorite bun. I like adding the mustard and mayonnaise together to spread on the buns.

Diane Rossen Worthington is a cookbook author. You can contact her at

Grilled Turkey Burgers With Ricotta Cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium shallots, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 14 pounds ground turkey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

13 cup ricotta cheese, whole milk or skim

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Nonstick cooking spray

6 kaiser rolls or hamburger buns, lightly toasted



6 leaves lettuce, such as romaine or red-leaf, torn into pieces

6 slices beefsteak tomato

6 red onion slices, optional

6 slices sharp cheddar cheese, optional

In a medium skillet on medium heat, add the oil. Saute the shallots for about 3 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook another minute.

In a medium bowl, mix together the ground turkey, the sauteed shallots and garlic, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, ricotta cheese and salt and pepper. Shape into thick patties. Place the patties on a platter and cover them. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour so that the patties will hold together.

Heat a heavy-bottom grill or saute pan over medium heat and coat lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Cook the burgers for 3 to 4 minutes on the first side, flip and cook for 4 to 6 minutes on the other side, or until the burgers are brown and crispy on the outside. Turn down the heat, partially cover them so they will stay moist and cook for a few more minutes (about 4), until an instant-read thermometer inserted from the side of the burger into the center registers 160 degrees.

To serve, spread both sides of the toasted buns with mustard and mayonnaise and add the burger; and then top each burger with lettuce and tomato. Red onion and cheese are optional.

Serves 4.

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