With coinciding seasons, wild turkey and morel mushrooms make a sensible pairing. This wild turkey and mushroom burger was made in honor of spring. It's a recipe that the whole family can contribute to make – let mom or dad kill the turkey and then take the kids out for a mushroom hunt.
What better way to herald in the new hunting and growing season by cooking a dish with ingredients that you found in the woods?
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
- ¾ to 1 pound ground wild turkey (breast, thigh or leg)
- 8 ounces fresh morel mushrooms
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Splash of Worcestershire sauce
- Splash of whiskey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- Kosher salt and cracked pepper, to taste
- Sliced sharp white cheddar cheese
- 2 hamburger buns
- 1 ripe avocado, sliced
- Greens: baby kale or arugula
1. Wash morel mushrooms thoroughly to get rid of grit and insects. Cut into halves or quarters lengthwise, depending on size of mushrooms. Drip-dry mushrooms in colander or with paper towels; wet mushrooms will have a hard time browning.
2. To make caramelized onions, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wide pan over medium heat. Add sliced onion with a pinch of salt and cook until browned and caramelized (about 10-15 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Adjust heat as necessary to avoid burning. Mix in a splash of Worcestershire sauce to help the caramelization along.
3. In another pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms to the hot butter; cook in batches to avoid overcrowding pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until mushrooms have browned and have given up their liquid.
Once cooked, add in minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add in a splash of whiskey and allow the alcohol to cook away. Add salt and pepper to taste. Take off heat and set aside.
4. Form ground wild turkey into two patties; it's best to take ground meat out of the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking to allow for more even cooking. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides. Heat 1-2 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add turkey patties to hot oil and cook for about 5 minutes until browned. Flip with a spatula and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until cooked through.
5. Halfway through cooking the second side of the turkey burgers, add slices of cheese on top and cover pan to allow cheese to melt.
6. Spread butter on both halves of hamburger buns. Toast until warmed and slightly golden. Assemble burger with greens, turkey patty with cheese, sliced avocado, caramelized onion and top with morel mushrooms. Serve immediately.
About this Wild Turkey and Morel Mushroom Burger Recipe:
The turkey patty is made with no fillers – no breadcrumbs or egg. I wondered how well ground wild turkey would hold together, and I've found that it cooks up quite nicely. This is a great recipe to use up those thighs and legs. If you've never kept the thighs and legs on a wild turkey, you'll kick yourself after finding out how much meat you have been throwing away.
Use ground wild turkey to substitute ground beef for a healthy alternative in recipes. I think ground wild turkey tastes just as good, if not better, than the stuff at the store.
Tip: If you grind your meat before freezing, allow thawed ground meat to drain in a colander before cooking. Thawed, pre-ground meat tends to be wet, and drier ground meat holds up better.