Jeff’s Spicy Turkey Burgers with Tomato-Onion Jam Recipe


Flour, TooI had never eaten ground turkey until Chef Jeff made these burgers for a lunch special. Before he even had a chance to bring them out to the front to sell, the kitchen staff (including me) had devoured pretty much all of them. Most chefs would go crazy if that happened to them. Chef Jeff has such a heartfelt love of feeding people that he was thrilled that the burgers were so well received, even if we didn’t have any to sell that day. (At least that’s what he told me!)

These burgers are full of spice and herbs, with a kick of chipotle to bring it all up a notch. We serve them with a sweet, tangy tomato jam on our homemade focaccia rolls. These are a healthful alternative to a fatty beef burger with just as much flavor, if not more.

  • Yield: 4 Burgers


  • Small handful of cornmeal for sprinkling on the baking sheet
  • ½ batch Flour Focaccia dough, or 1 lb (455 g) store-bought pizza dough
  • Small handful of all-purpose f lour for sprinkling on the rolls
Tomato-Onion Jam
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, cut into ½-in/12-mm pieces
  • 1 lb (455 g) plum tomatoes, halved, pulp and seeds removed, and roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp hot red pepper flakes
Turkey Burgers
  • 3 slices day-old white bread
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
  • 1 lb (455 g) ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp seeded and minced canned chipotle chile
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 oz (115 g) feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 lettuce leaves for serving
How to Make It
  1. Sprinkle the baking sheet evenly with the cornmeal and set aside.
  2. Shape the dough into a rough 4-in/10-cm square and divide the square into four equal pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a ball by stretching it flat on a work surface and bringing the edges up to meet in the center. Turn the dough piece over and keep tucking the edges underneath until you have a small ball with a taut surface. Place the dough ball on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining three dough pieces. Sprinkle the dough balls with some of the flour, lightly cover them with plastic wrap or a lint-free cloth, and place them in a warm area (78° to 82°F/25° to 27°C is ideal) for about 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size and is soft and wobbly.
  3. About 30 minutes before you are ready to bake the rolls, preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C, and place a rack in the center of the oven.
  4. Uncover the dough balls. Sprinkle them with the remaining flour, and slap them flat with the palm of your hand to deflate them. Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the rolls to a wire rack to cool.
  5. Brush the cornmeal off the baking sheet and set the pan aside for cooking the burgers. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F/180°C.
  6. While the rolls are rising, make the tomato-onion jam
  7. In a medium saucepan, heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Add the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and stir until well mixed. Remove from the heat and let cool. The jam can be made up to 4 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  8. To make the turkey burgers
  9. In the food processor, process the day-old bread until it turns to crumbs. You should have about 1 cup (85 g). Set aside.
  10. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  11. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, cooked onion and garlic, mustard, chile, reserved bread crumbs, egg, basil, parsley, feta, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, mix until well blended. Form the turkey mixture into four large, flat, thin patties 4 to 5 in/10 to 12 cm in diameter. The patties will shrink up and get thick as you cook them, so pat them very flat at this point to compensate.
  12. In the same skillet used for the onion, heat 1 tbsp of the oil over medium heat. Add two burgers and cook, turning once, for about 2 minutes per side, or until nicely seared. Transfer the seared burgers to the baking sheet. Add the remaining 1 tbsp oil to the pan and sear the remaining two burgers.
  13. Bake the burgers for 14 to 16 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Check the doneness by inserting the meat thermometer into the thickest part of a burger; it should register an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C.
  14. Split the rolls and spread one cut side of each roll evenly with the tomato-onion jam. Top the bottom of each roll with a lettuce leaf and then a burger. Close each burger with a roll top and serve.

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