Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Carmelized Onion Bruschetta Burgers-Delish!

 I don't know if you have been keeping up with some of the discussion regarding our food supply in the US, but I disturbs me and makes my brain hurt a little because I am really not sure what to do with the information. If you have not been keeping up, then I highly recommend The Omnivore's Dilemma as a good book, King Corn or Food, Inc as excellent documentaries. The basic problem is that corn has become a huge genetic engineering industry. Most of the corn produced in the US is actually not even safe for human consumption. Instead it is produced as feed for animals. Great idea except that cattle in particular were not meant to eat corn. Their digestive systems work best with grass. Corn, however, is cheap and fattens the cattle quickly. Cattle are able to be slaughtered months or even years earlier on a corn diet versus a grass diet. Because corn is not good for cattle, they become sick and then require antibiotics. Basically, our beef  is a result of a strange corn product, fat and antibiotics. Yum, yum. And we wonder why there are so many more chronic health problems and more antibiotic related disorders and immunity in the US? Read the book or watch the films for more information.
 I struggle with what to do with this information. Do I quit eating beef? Do I spend more money and time to find grass fed beef? What about poultry? (there are problems with this too). What about genetically engineered corn and how it is literally a part of almost everything food product??? Dilemmas. Well I know that I can not stop eating food, so I might just need to make some substitutions or sacrifices. Until I figure it out, I am continuing to eat all types of meat, but trying to choose better products when possible (Just Bare Chicken is one example). Meat is an important source of protein and is a valuable source of iron and B12 in our diets.  It helps keep you full in between meals, helps repair muscle damage and is important for the immune system in the body. 

Many people have switched to turkey in recent years due to presumed health reasons. We assume turkey must be healthier than beef since beef has a lot of saturated fat and turkey is a leaner meat, right? Well, 95% lean ground beef has 155 calories and 6g of fat in 4 ounces and 93% lean ground turkey has 150 calories and 8g of fat in 4 ounces. Not much difference. Lean beef can actually be quite good for you (aside from the problems previously presented). I personally happen to really enjoy ground turkey and use it regularly. I love turkey burgers and actually prefer them to beef burgers any day. The key to a good turkey burger is the seasoning. Turkey has a mild flavor and so you have to season it well to have a good end product.

Last weekend we made turkey burgers and I experimented with my toppings. Aaron had a strip of bacon, provolone cheese and tomato on his, while I tried caramelized onions with Gorgonzola cheese and a basil-tomato topping. (I didn't want to subject Aaron to my experiment until I tried it first!)  I loved my burger and I think you will too. There are so many flavors- the seasoned poultry along with a little sweetness from the onions and tomatoes plus the spicy bite of the basil and the saltiness of the cheese- they all compliment each other perfectly. I seasoned the ground turkey with smoked paprika, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and poultry grill seasoning, but I honestly do not use the same spices each time. I have been known to put in cayenne pepper, rosemary, oregano, basil, etc. So add the flavors that you like and then experiment a little. You could also use a milder cheese on the burger like provolone or mozzarella if you do not like aged cheeses.  Please share your favorite combination! Enjoy!

Turkey Burgers
1 pound 93% lean ground turkey or beef
McCormick chicken grill seasoning
Smoked paprika
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4-1/2 onion, finely diced

Place turkey in large bowl and add seasonings.  Mix seasonings into meat by hand and then divide meat mixture into 4 burger patties. Grill until preferred doneness, usually 5-6 minutes  per side on a grill or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. 

Caramelized Onions
1 medium onion, cut into rings
1 tsp sugar
olive oil
Heat large skillet on medium heat with enough olive oil to cover the bottom.  Add onions, sugar, salt and pepper. Saute until starting to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Turn heat down to medium low and continue to cook slowly, about 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally until onions are browned and sticky. Remove from heat.

Bruschetta Toppings
1 medium tomato, diced
Handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
Drizzle of olive oil
Combine all ingredients and allow to sit for about 10 minutes. 

Gorgonzola cheese
4 Buns, slightly chared

Place burger patty on bun, top with onions, Gorgonzolla cheese and bruchetta topping to taste.  Makes 4 burgers

1 comment:

  1. Great article...my mouth is watering...


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