Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Coffee-Glazed Turkey Burgers with Apple Slaw and Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I've never really done any savory cooking with coffee. I've never made my own buns, either. I'd never even had a turkey burger before tonight. But there's a first time for everything, and today was one of those days. This afternoon I did a lot of new things, with a lot of success. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the coffee-glazed turkey burger on a homemade brioche bun, with gorgonzola cheese, apple slaw, and a side of baked sweet potato fries.

This would've been a much prettier photo if I'd had a red onion handy. Or a good camera and photography skills.

There was a reason for the madness. First, this week's 52 weeks of cooking theme was coffee, and I didn't want to make tiramisu, mocha cookies, or a coffee-flavored barbecue sauce. I'd heard something about a coffee-glazed burger, so I decided to go that route. Then I noticed that this week's budget food challenge was for ground turkey, and I decided to consult my copy of the Flavor Bible and see what I could do to integrate both the coffee and the turkey. Coffee wasn't listed as a flavor affinity to the turkey, but after doing some more research I decided that it would be a nice complement.

For the buns, I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen - this was also BB's afternoon project, since she loves to help me bake. Fun fact: 5 year olds don't seem to like the smell of yeast. The glaze was simple - I just added enough water to some decaf instant coffee and brown sugar to get a thin syrupy consistency, and I brushed it on some 1/4 lb turkey patties. The apple slaw was similarly simple: grate up some apples, chop up some dried cherries and a slice of onion, and stir it together with a few tablespoons of yogurt.

The meal was awesome. I was really surprised at how well everything went together, and how the strong flavor of the coffee made the turkey more flavorful. I even heard my parents talking about how good it was from the other room while I was attempting (and of course failing) to take a good picture, and we all wished I'd made bigger burgers and more sweet potatoes. Incidentally, it's also cheap - by my calculations based off of the amount of ingredients I used (yes, I measured) and the current price of everything at the grocery store, this meal cost $2.60 per person before tax, including the cost of the homemade buns (the price works out to be the same as a purchased bun). In a restaurant, this would have easily been a $10-12 plate with the portions I've listed below. You can't beat that with a stick.

Coffee-Glazed Turkey Burgers:

  • 1/4 oz instant coffee
  • 2 ozs brown sugar
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 2 cups apple slaw (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese

Add just enough water to the sugar and coffee to create a thin syrup. Season ground turkey with salt and pepper, then form into four patties and brush with coffee glaze. Spread butter on each side of the buns, and toast on a griddle at medium heat. Cook burgers on medium to medium-high heat for about 4 minutes per side, brushing on additional glaze after flipping. Put gorgonzola cheese on the bottom bun, then add meat and top with apple slaw.

Apple Slaw

  • 1 large apple (about 1/2 pound)
  • 3/4 ozs dried montmorency cherries, chopped
  • 1 slice onion (about 1 oz), chopped fine
  • 3 ozs (around 3 tbsp) plain yogurt
  • 3-4 drops lemon juice or 1/2 tsp Fruit Fresh (to prevent browning if making ahead of time)

Grate apple with a box grater. If making ahead, place in a bowl of water with lemon juice or fruit fresh to prevent browning until ready to use. Drain off any excess liquid from the apples, then stir together cherries, onion, and yogurt. Makes 2-3 cups

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

  • 3 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 4.5 ozs oil
  • 3 ozs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Peel sweet potatoes and slice into thin medallions. Add oil, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat. Spread over a baking sheet and cook at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes, turning every 8-10 minutes. Makes 4 large servings.

Total prep/cook time: 1 hour active cooking, 4 hours total (45 minutes total cook/prep if you remove the bread from the picture)
Happiness rating: 9/10

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