Turkey Zucchini Burgers with Sumac Yogurt Sauce

I thank the universe every day for giving us Yotam Ottolenghi, the originator of this recipe from his cookbook Jerusalem. These little balls of joy are an absolutely go-to for me for everything from dinner parties to regular old weeknight meals. They are great the night you  make them, and they are great for several days after, so they make a great Sunday dinner with lunches for the week. Unlike my cooking style in general, I never change a thing from Ottolenghi’s original recipe. It’s perfection.

I recommend serving the turkey burgers alongside a side of fattoush (recipe coming soon), and a grain like pearled couscous or regular couscous with lemon and herbs.

Ingredients: (serves 4-5)

For turkey burgers:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 large zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • Sunflower oil (for cooking)*

For sumac yogurt sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sumac**
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

* Sunflower oil is great for frying these burgers, as it has a more mild flavor and higher burning temperature than olive oil.

**Since Ottolenghi began trending so hard in the U.S., you can now find sumac in a lot of regular grocery stores and not just specialty spice shops. I know for sure that Whole Foods carries it regularly.

Preparation:

First, make the yogurt sauce by combining all ingredients in a jar or bowl. Set aside in the fridge to let the flavors meld while you make the rest of the dish.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix all the ingredients for the burgers in a large bowl (not including the sunflower oil). Begin to shape the mix into burgers – you should get about 18 burgers out of this recipe. They might feel a bit gloppy and messy, but that’s ok. These are the most exceptionally moist burgers and they feel that way when you are shaping them! In the pictures below I actually doubled the recipe so we could feed guests and have leftovers….clearly we love these.

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Next, heat a thin layer of sunflower oil in a nonstick pan until hot, and sear burgers in batches on all sides. You should cook each batch for about 2 minutes on each side (4-5 minutes total). After you get a nice color on each side, transfer to a baking sheet. If you have parchment paper, it’s nice to line your baking sheet with parchment paper for this part but it’s not 100% necessary. I rarely have parchment paper in the house.

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Place burgers in the oven at 425 degrees for about 5 to 10 minutes, until cooked through. Just take out the largest burger and cut in half to make sure it isn’t pink inside. Let rest for a few minutes and then serve with the sumac yogurt sauce and any other sides you’ve put together.

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