Turkey Spinach Burgers with Sweet Soy-Ginger Sauce

Turkey Spinach Burgers with Sweet Soy-Ginger Sauce
My husband put together this recipe, adapting it from an Asian-inspired recipe he found online by combining it with some "secret ingredients" suggested by Serious Eats. The eggplant adds moisture (and fibre!) to the lean and notoriously dry burgers, while the marmite or miso adds extra umami and meatiness.
Makes: 4 patties
  • 1 small eggplant, about 150 g, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cooking oil
  • 2 bags (5 oz each) baby spinach, or 1 package (9 oz) frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 lb (454 g) ground turkey
  • ¾ cup (185 mL) chopped scallions
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) marmite or miso (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp (5 mL) cooking oil, for frying
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) mirin
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1½ Tbsp (22 mL) minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons sliced scallions for garnish, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Rub the cut halves of the eggplant with oil. Roast the eggplant in the preheated oven until the flesh is mushy, about 30 minutes. Scoop out the flesh and mince. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Reduce until slightly syrupy, about 3 minutes. 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.)
  3. [Skip this step if using thawed frozen spinach] Meanwhile, 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, eggplant, scallions, sesame oil, spinach, marmite, and 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of the reserved sauce. Season with salt and pepper and blend well.
  6. Form the turkey-spinach mixture into 4 patties, about 3½” across and 1″ thick.
  7. Frying: Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, add the patties and cook covered about 5 minutes per side, until nicely browned and the internal temperature reaches 165˚F. Lower the heat if necessary to keep them from burning. Broiling: Move oven rack to the top position. Preheat broiler. Place patties on a baking sheet and broil for about 5 minutes per side, until nicely browned and the internal temperature reaches 165˚F.
  8. Serve with some of the sauce spooned over. Garnish with the sliced scallions, if desired.


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