It's A Keeper: Southwest Turkey Burgers with O-Nuts

My mother in law informed me that these were her first turkey burgers. I guess she liked them, since she took leftovers home with her! Rachael Ray prepared these Southwest Turkey Burgers and Spicy O-nuts on 30-Minute Meals and you can find the recipe in Cooking 'Round the Clock (where they are called Urban Cowboy Burgers). I served some homemade guacamole as a little appetizer before the meal.

These burgers join Turkey Loco Burgers and the Bacon-Bit Gouda Burgers in my group of favorites. They are perfect for a summer barbecue when you're tired of the usual flavors. The burgers themselves are packed with flavor, but that does mean you have to do more chopping than usual with a burger.

I'd probably skip the O-nuts next time because (a) they used a whole bunch of vegetable oil and (b) they seemed oily. Not sure if that was just me or if it's the nature of the onion ring beast. I'd probably go for some grilled veggies or a salad next time, but I'm glad I tried them. Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets:

Southwest Turkey Burgers

8 slices turkey bacon or turkey bacon with black pepper or applewood smoked bacon [I went for the plain turkey bacon to keep it a little healthier]
1 1/3 pounds ground turkey breast, the average weight of 1 package
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large shallot or 1/4 red onion, finely chopped [Go for the shallot - it'll make you feel fancier, won't it?]
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves [I really think using the fresh stuff makes a big difference, and it has a good shelf life in the fridge.]
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional - parsley may be substituted
1/2 small bell pepper, green, red or yellow, seeded and finely chopped
1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped [I prefer the flavor of the jalapenos, but use your favorite spicy pepper.]
2 teaspoons, 2/3 palm full, ground cumin
1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne hot sauce, several drops (recommended: Tabasco)
2 teaspoons grill seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
Vegetable oil or olive oil, for drizzling
1/2 pound deli sliced pepper jack cheese [Don't substitute this one! Use the pepper jack - it makes the burger]
4 crusty kaiser rolls, split [I'm happy to say Safeway now sells wheat kaiser rolls and they are outstanding]
1 cup sweet red pepper relish, found on condiment aisle - pepper jelly may be substituted [The brand in my store is Mezzetta, but it's not available on their website.]
Red leaf lettuce [Skipped it. Why mess with the meat and cheese?]
Spicy O-nuts, recipe follows

Chop your garlic and veggies.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until crisp. Wipe excess grease from pan and return skillet to heat. [We cooked the burgers outside on the grill, so the skillet's work was done.]

While bacon cooks, combine turkey meat, garlic, shallot or onion, thyme, cilantro or parsley, bell pepper, serrano or jalapeno pepper, cumin, hot pepper sauce, grill seasoning or salt and pepper. Divide mixture into 4 equal mounds then form meat into patties. Drizzle patties with vegetable oil to coat. Cook in skillet over medium high heat for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Place sliced cheese over the patties in the last 2 minutes of cooking, use 1 or 2 slices for each patty, as you like. [We only used one, but it was tempting to use two.]

Pile cooked cheeseburgers into buns. Spread sweet relish or jelly on bun tops and set red leaf lettuce into place, using the relish or jelly as glue. Top cheeseburgers with 2 slices of cooked, crisp bacon or turkey bacon and lettuce. Then serve with tortilla chips, tossed salad and/or spicy o-nuts.

Spicy O-nuts

Vegetable oil, for frying
1 extra large sweet onion [Walla Wallas were available in my store]
2 cups complete pancake mix, any brand
1 cup beer [Don't tell my husband that I used his Newcastle]
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/3 palm full
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, eyeball it, or 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Heat 1-inch vegetable oil of moderate to medium high heat. If you wish to test the oil, add a 1-inch cube of bread to hot oil. If it turns deep golden brown in color in a count of 40, the oil is ready. [Or, place the end of a wooden spoon in the oil. If little bubbles rise, then the oil is ready.]

Trim ends of onion and peel. Cut into 3/4-inch slices and separate rings. [Some of my rings broke, but they still tasted fine!]

Mix together pancake mix and beer, season with paprika, chili powder and cayenne pepper or hot sauce. Batter should be thick. If it gets too thick, add a splash more beer. Working in small batches of 5 to 6 slices, coat rings of onion in batter and fry 4 to 5 minutes, until evenly golden brown. Turn onions over so that both sides get puffed and cooked. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Season o-nuts with salt while hot. Repeat with remaining ingredients. When all the onions are dipped and fried, turn off oil to cool before discarding.

You can see more pictures of how my burgers turned out here.


  1. Thank you.

    Please review the Salmon en Croute when you have a chance. It looked like a great recipe that I would like to try.

  2. The Salmon en Croute turned out absolutely amazing, Anony. I highly recommend it, although I think the salmon we used was the main reason for the recipe's success. It was Wild Sockeye Salmon that had been caught less than a couple months ago in Alaska.

  3. You should try her Mini Cheeseburger Salad too. I heard that one's really good. :)

  4. Anony,

    I am not a fan of mustard, which is in the dressing for that salad, so I probably won't be giving it a try. But thanks for stopping by ERR and making the suggestion! ;)


Thanks for leaving a comment! Reading comments and responding to them is one of my favorite parts of having a blog, so thanks for contributing.