Simplicity is the keynote for election-night fare


Turkey burgers just the ticket for friends gathered to watch the returns


October 27, 2002|By Betty Rosbottom | By Betty Rosbottom,Special to the Sun

A few weeks ago when my husband and I went to vote in our state's primaries, we ran into a half-dozen good friends. As we left the community library where we had cast our ballots, a small group of us gathered and began to talk about the November elections. After several minutes, we decided that we should plan a party on election night and cook supper together while watching the returns. I loved the idea and volunteered to help organize the meal.

Since our fete would be held on a weeknight when people would be arriving after work, I knew that a simple menu was what we needed. Burgers and grilled sausages accompanied by a garlic-scented potato gratin and a salad of baby spinach, bacon and mushrooms tossed in a lemon dressing struck the right note. Dark chocolate pecan brownies served with scoops of vanilla ice cream seemed like an all-American finale for our dinner.

Each person is to bring the ingredients for one dish, and my contribution will be a delectable new recipe for turkey burgers. Flavored with a hint of orange zest, grated crisp apple and honey mustard, the patties, cooked on an outdoor grill or in a stove-top grill pan until charred, are topped with thin apple slices and with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, then served on lightly toasted buns.

These turkey burgers always turn out moist and juicy and could easily rival those made with beef for great taste. The following recipe serves four, but could be doubled or tripled if desired.

Because these burgers can be assembled and grilled in minutes, I will have plenty of time to discuss the merits of my favorite candidates with others. However, my husband has reminded me that we should leave our political differences at the kitchen door, at least until after dessert is served.

Distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate International, a division of Tribune Media Services.

Turkey Burgers With Honey Mustard, Cheddar and Apples

Makes 4 servings

1 pound ground turkey

2 tablespoons honey Dijon mustard, plus extra for spreading on buns

1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced onion

1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large Fuji apple, rinsed and dried but unpeeled

oil, for grill rack

1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

4 good-quality hamburger buns, lightly toasted

1 small bunch watercress, cleaned and stems cut off

In mixing bowl, combine turkey, 2 tablespoons mustard, onion, orange zest, salt and pepper. Using coarse grater, grate enough apple to yield 1 1/2 tablespoons. Add grated apple to turkey mixture and mix well to blend. Cover remaining apple with plastic wrap and refrigerate to use later. Shape turkey mixture into 4 patties about 1/2 inch thick. Cover and refrigerate to firm up at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

When ready to cook, oil grill rack and arrange about 5 inches from heat source. Prepare grill. While grill is heating, slice reserved apple into 1/8 -inch-thick wedges. When grill is ready, add turkey burgers and grill until completely cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. When almost done, top each burger with 3 to 4 apple slices and then with some shredded cheese. Cook 1 minute more until cheese starts to melt, then remove from heat. (Burgers can also be cooked in a stove-top grill pan or in a skillet. Oil grill pan or film bottom of skillet with oil and place over medium-high heat. When hot, grill or saute burgers about 5 minutes per side.)

To assemble, spread mustard generously on both sides of buns. Arrange burgers on bottom buns, add a few sprigs of watercress and cover with tops. Serve hot.

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