B.'s house is slowly emerging from DIY Hardwood Land, which means we are hopefully going to start spending more time in the kitchen. On Saturday, he took on a sous-vide beer cooler project by himself as inspired by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt over at Serious Eats and three hours later came out with the moistest chicken breast ever. I might coax him to write a guest post about it, but for now, here's a cooking project we took on a few weeks ago - turkey-spinach burgers with sweet soy-ginger sauce.
B. found this recipe on A Doctor's Kitchen, which is a blog that focuses on healthy recipes and strategies to make your home cooking a little healthier. Turkey burgers are obviously leaner than regular burgers; this recipe also gets a bit of a vitamin boost from the spinach and an Asian twist from ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and mirin. You can serve these like regular burgers, but B. and I went the Asian route and ate it with some multigrain "rice" (a blend of different types of rice as well as other grains like barley and rye) and "choi sum" (菜心), which B. mistakenly bought instead of Chinese broccoli/"gai lan" (芥蘭).
To be honest, I didn't particularly like this recipe as I found the sauce – which is reminiscent of teriyaki sauce – way too strong and overpowering (look at that sodium!), though I'm a little suspicious as to whether the bottle of "mirin" in B.'s fridge is actually rice vinegar. Also, since the turkey is so lean it is easy to overcook and leave the burger dry.
Still, it is an interesting twist on the traditional burger, and as long as you watch that the burger's not overcooked and don't spoon too much sauce over top, it can be part of a satisfying meal, and it is certainly a recipe worth tweaking.
Turkey-Spinach Burgers with Sweet Soy-Ginger Sauce
Adapted from A Doctor's Kitchen
Makes 4 patties
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) soy sauce
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) mirin
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) brown sugar, packed
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh ginger, minced
- 5 oz/142 g bag of baby spinach
- 1 lb (454 g) ground turkey
- ¾ cup (175 mL) scallions, chopped
- 1 tsp (5 mL) sesame oil
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
- Chopped scallions and sesame seeds, optional, for garnish
Nutrition Info (per pattie): 271 calories, 13 g fat (3 g saturated), 89 mg cholesterol, 15 g carbohydrate (2 g fibre, 10 g sugar), 22 g protein, 655 mg sodium. An excellent source of riboflavin (vitamin B2), folate (vitamin B4), vitamin B6, potassium, zinc, manganese and selenium. A good source of vitamin A, niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin B12, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.
- In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, and ginger. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Reduce until slightly syrupy, about 3 minutes, though sometimes it will not become syrupy until cooled. Adjust heat if it threatens to boil over. Remove from heat and set aside. (Sauce may be prepared up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated in a covered container.)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the spinach for 1 minute. Drain and transfer to a cold water bath to stop the cooking. Drain again. Spread out a dish towel on your work surface. Cover it with a layer of paper towels. Spread the spinach in a thin layer over the towels. Cover with another layer of paper towels and another dish towel. Starting at one end, roll up the towel layers into a giant roll. Holding the roll at each end, twist to wring the water out of the spinach. Unroll, remove the top layers, and set the spinach aside. (Coarsely chop the spinach if you wish, but baby spinach does not require it. Also, the spinach may be prepared up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated in a covered container.)
- In a large bowl, combine the turkey, scallions, sesame oil, reserved spinach, and 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the reserved sauce. Season with pepper if desired and blend well.
- Form the turkey-spinach mixture into 4 patties, about 3½” (18 cm) across and 1″ (2½ cm) thick.
- Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the patties and cook, covered, about 5 minutes per side, until nicely browned and cooked through. Lower the heat if necessary to keep them from burning. Serve with some of the sauce spooned over. Garnish with sliced scallions and/or sesame seeds, if desired.