Has anyone else noticed that it’s boiling lava hot outside? Anyone? Like, frying an egg on the sidewalk, brace yourselves before you step outdoors, get smacked in the face by heat, kinda wish clothing was optional kind of hot. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m proud to be a native Texan. I love this place whole-heartedly, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. But, when those triple digits start rolling in, I have to admit, I tend to find myself having traitorous thoughts about the land I love, and daydreaming of summers in a far away state, where the temperatures never hit above 90 degrees and a cool breeze is always blowing.
Yes, the dog days of summer are officially here, and I have no idea how my husband withstands the heat. You see, he spends the majority of any given workday out in the elements, and especially in the Texas summer, my heart goes out to him and my hat is off. For he is way tougher than I. I mean, I get all panicky under the scorching sun just in the small amount of time it takes to get my kids out of their car seats, and back into an air-conditioned building. Truth be told, I’m not into the whole sweating thing, unless it comes along with intent and takes place inside of a gym.
So what do you cook for a man, physically drained and overheated from a hard days work? Something refreshing, yet filling … but, not too heavy. Man food, with an invigorating touch, and my green chili turkey burger is exactly that.
It’s starts with a seared turkey patty carrying with it a Southwestern vibe, as it is speckled with green chilis, and seasoned with smoked paprika and cumin. Vibrant, quick-pickled tomatillos cool things down a bit, and add a beautiful burst of bright acidity to the mix. Now, don’t get all panicky over those tomatillos in there. I know some of you have likely never worked with them before, so let’s just talk this one out for a sec: Tomatillos are a night-shade vegetable, just like their cousin the tomato. They come in a nice little package that goes by the name of a husk. The husk is nothing scary, you simply peel it away, and underneath, you’ll find a slightly sticky little tomatillo, closely resembling a small green tomato. To get rid of the sticky, you run it under a little water, and boom, you’re done. You’ve officially conquered a tomatillo. Nothing to it.
Next on the burger, a cool and creamy, lime-infused avocado spread, plus a ring or two of red onion for a little spice. Oh, and did I mention all the cooking takes place inside? Bonus. Now if you knew my husband’s true affinity for beef, you might second-guess his adoration toward a burger … well, not made with beef. And, truth be told, he wasn’t silent on the matter the first time I placed this sandwich on his dinner plate. However, only one bite in, and my darling man was eating his words, along with every last bite of his turkey burger. He loves it, the kids love it, and man-oh-man, do I love it, too. It’s the perfect ending to a hot summer’s day, and a lovely way to say thank you to any hard-working spouse. Enjoy.
For the Pickled Tomatillos
5 tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed, sliced into thin rounds
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
For the Avocado-Mayo Spread
1 tablespoon minces cilantro
For the Green Chili Turkey Burgers
1 red onion, halved and cut into thin slices and set aside
2 pounds ground turkey (85% lean), very cold
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 (4.5 ounce) can of chopped green chilis
1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, separated
6 hamburger buns, preferably fresh from the bakery
For the pickled tomatillos, spread tomatillo slices across the bottom of a pie dish, or any shallow dish similar in circumference. Sprinkle over vinegar and lime juice and set in the refrigerator to marinate while performing other preparations.
For the avocado mayo, mash together avocado, mayonnaise, cilantro, lime juice and salt until it reaches a spreadable consistency.
For the burgers, add oil to a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. While pan and oil are heating, begin making patties. With your hands, gently mix together ground turkey, egg, green chilis, salt, cumin, pepper and paprika. Form into six round balls. For extra flavor and browning, add one tablespoon butter to the oil and allow to melt. Add ground turkey balls to the skillet and flatten with spatula. Cook for 4 minutes, or until browned. Carefully flip and cook other side until juices have evaporated from the pan, and the patty has browned and cooked all the way through, 6-8 minutes more. Set aside turkey burgers. If desired, add an additional tablespoon of butter to the skillet, cut buns in half and toast 1-2 minutes each on hot skillet.
To assemble burgers, spread a thin layer of avocado-mayo on each bun and top patties with onion and pickled tomatillos. Enjoy.
Kelly Anthony is a local blogger, baker and home chef specializing in refined comfort food and at-home entertaining. Her website is www.theanthonykitchen.com.