Indian Turkey Burgers

Mmm, turkey burgers. Mmm, uncooked.
I have to admit a couple of things. The naming of this recipe is a little tongue-in-cheek, as burgers aren’t in any way Indian. But they’re flavoured with a lot of my favourite Indian spices, and they taste glorious.
The other thing is that these burgers are inspired by a similar recipe for chicken burgers by Anjum Anand. I’ve adapted the recipe quite a bit, because it wasn’t quite right for me. But feel free to adjust quantities for yourselves.

Ingredients

  • 500g turkey mince. Much easier to come by than chicken mince, and it’s leaner. It also makes great burgers, with or without the other ingredients.
  • About half an inch of ginger root, grated. You could use powdered ginger if you don’t have the root stuff, but it’s not really the same. Don’t go using preserved ginger. That would just be wrong.
  • Two fat cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Half a red onion, chopped very finely
  • 1tsp salt, 1tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1tsp nigella (black onion) seeds, and 1tsp yellow mustard seeds, pounded in a pestle and mortar
  • 1tsp coriander powder
  • 1tsp medium or tandoori curry powder
  • 1tsp garam masala powder
  • One large red chilli, finely chopped
  • One medium egg and a piece of fairly stale bread, crumbed
  • A big handful of coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped

That’s a lot of ingredients! If you have them all to hand at home (as I did), the only annoying thing is getting everything in a bowl. Otherwise, if you have to miss something out, then I guess you could remove the coriander powder. I’ve not tried these burgers without egg/bread, but they might work.

Recipe

Now for the fun part. Mash the turkey mince up, so it doesn’t look mince-like (you know what I mean). Add the all of the ingredients, save the egg and bread. You may wish to add a little oil to stop the burgers sticking to the barbecue.

Finger lickin' good (oh no, wait, that's chicken).

You should have a fairly dry mixture. Try to shape it into burgers (you should get four big burgers out of the mix, or five average-sized ones). If it doesn’t seem to stick together, then the burgers will fall apart on the barbecue. In that case, add your egg. The egg acts as a binder, but can make the mixture too wet, so you need to balance that wetness with some breadcrumbs to absorb. I used soda bread because it crumbs well whether stale or not, but use whatever you have. The important thing is to not add it all at once – if you add too much bread, the mixture will become dry again. Once you’ve got a mix that seems wet enough to hold together, but not sloppy, you’re done.

If you want, add a little lime juice to the mix to balance the cumin in the garam masala. I tend to do this to the cooked burgers at the end. Shape into patties, and stick on the barbecue. They cook quicker than MattBurgers but I’d still say 4-5 minutes per side to be sure.

Really good on a burger bun with some fresh coriander on top, and perhaps a little mayonnaise or minted yoghurt. Enjoy.

Garlic Tomatoes and Garlic Mushrooms

“More recipes!”, I hear you cry? Why, sure. This is something that I’ve been doing for a long time, which works just as well in an oven. I actually poached a similar recipe from Jez some nine or so years ago, and made it my own (thanks Jez).

The idea is that you put some cherry tomatoes (or mushrooms) in a tight little foil bag, and steam the whole thing on the barbecue with some garlic. It’s bloody good, I’ll tell you.

Ingredients

For Garlic Tomatoes For Garlic Mushrooms
  • A pack/punnet of cherry tomatoes. Grape tomatoes, etc. would work too.
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2tsp salt, 1/2tsp black pepper
  • 5-6 basil leaves, fresh and chopped
  • A good glug of virgin olive oil
  • Five to six medium-sized white mushrooms. These are just the common sort you can find in supermarkets, farm shops, etc. Use whatever mushrooms you prefer, but slice them to about 1/2cm thick.
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2tsp salt, 1/2tsp black pepper
  • Half a red onion chopped finely
  • A good glug of virgin olive oil

Recipe


This couldn’t really be much simpler. But first, you need to make a foil bag. You’ll need about a metre of aluminium kitchen foil. Fold it in half (vertically) and then in half again. Now, with the open edges, fold in about a centimetre each side, twice. You should end up with an open bag/pouch that is 2-ply.

Okay, so that was hard to describe. Put your ingredients of choice in – all of them, then seal the open end of the bag in the same way as the sides. Shake gently. Put on a warm part of the barbecue (best not the searing hot part) and leave for 20 minutes or so. The tomatoes (/mushrooms) will have taken on a lovely flavour, and should have released a lot of juice, with broken skin, if they’re done.

P.S.: you can equally do this in a conventional oven – just make the bag in the same way, and cook at 180 celsius for about 20 minutes. The tomatoes go really well with chicken, fish and pork. Yum.

Guest Post: JezBurgers!

It’s time for The Bearded Barbecuer’s first ever guest post (hopefully not the last), from my good chum Jez who runs a blog over at eRambler.co.uk. Go read! After reading this recipe, of course. Over to Jez!


Inspired by Matt’s MattBurgers™ of a few days ago, I had a bash at creating my own version, with some tomato puree and celery leaves, and a pinch of cayenne to liven it up.

Mmm?
Burger Crumbs. Create your own Image.

By the way, Matt asked me to provide a photo for this post but, erm, we ate the burgers too quickly. But I have got a photo of the empty plate for you. Was it a good recipe? Draw your own conclusions… Note from Matt: fail! Imagine for yourselves!

Ingredients

  • 450g beef mince (yes, I mean 1lb)
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp celery leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • Plenty of freshly ground black pepper
  • Generous shake of cayenne pepper (or more or less, if you like)
  • Generous splash of Henderson’s Relish (or Worcester Sauce if you’re a namby-pamby southerner) (Note from Matt: He says this, but he lives near to Bath)

Recipe

Mix everything except the mince to a rough paste on a chopping board or in a bowl. Mix it all into the mince. Make into 4 generous burgers or 6-8 stingy burgers, and cook until done (hmm, I didn’t time them, but I grilled them on high until nicely browned on each side, turning once).

I preferred mine with some nice mature cheddar melted on top. You might say that the saltiness of the cheese worked well with the sweetness of the tomato puree. Or maybe I just like cheese.

So there you have it: JezBurgers. Try creating your own and naming them after yourself: eponymous food is fun!


So there you go! First guest post done. Like the burgers? Let us know in the comments. Got your own recipe you’d like to contribute? Let me know and I’ll put it up!

Guacamole

I’ve seen a lot of guacamole recipes. I’ve bought a lot of guacamole, and the shop stuff pretty much universally sucks. Too much like wallpaper paste, not enough lime, unripe avocado… I don’t know. But for whatever reason, if you don’t like guacamole, you should try this and be converted. Whenever I make this for other people, they love it.

Ingredients

  • Two ripe Hass Avocados. They’re
    Do you see the difference? Do you? Good.
    Hass avocadoes (left). Not green avocadoes (right).

    more expensive (but supermarkets tend to reduce them at the time when they’re perfectly ripe – sneaky… heh heh) than the paler green avocados in some shops now (see right). They’re just the best for guacamole – they ripen well, and they have good flavour. The avocados should have give in them if you press the outside. Hard avocados do not make good guacamole.

  • The flesh of One medium-sized tomato. Take the skin off if you want; I don’t bother.
  • Half a red onion, finely chopped
  • One or two cloves of garlic, crushed using 1tsp rock salt. Alter to taste.
  • The juice of one lime
  • 1/2tsp cumin
  • A good handful of coriander (cilantro), chopped roughly

Recipe

Actually making this stuff is child’s play. Take your ripe avocados, cut them vertically in half, around the stone. Carefully use your knife to take out the stone in the middle. Use a soup spoon/desert spoon to scoop out the flesh. If the avocado is ripe enough, this will be easy to do in one go, by getting the spoon in between the flesh and the tough skin.

Put all of the avocado into a shallow bowl, and, using a fork, mash it quite roughly. Squeeze about half of the lime juice over, and mix (it prevents the avocado discolouring).

Mmm, guacamole.
Guacamole. Or should that be Guaca-matt-le? No, definitely the former.

Now, add your chopped tomato, onion, crushed garlic, cumin and coriander. Mix well, and taste. Add salt or pepper to your taste, and more lime juice if necessary. Garnish with a sprig of coriander, and you’re done! Almost too easy to be a recipe, eh?

Enjoy this? Let me know in the comments.

Curry-Spiced Salmon

We’re big fans of barbecued fish. Trout, salmon, sea bass… they’re all good. Salmon is a fish that can stand up to a lot of flavour, and can really benefit from it.

Ingredients

  • Two salmon fillet steaks, about 120g each
  • Some kitchen foil, greased with oil
  • 1/2tsp salt, 1/4tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2tsp each of ground cumin, mustard seeds, coriander, medium curry powder and nigella (black onion) seeds. You could use any curry spice you like here – chilli powder for a little extra heat, a good garam masala would work well.

Recipe

Not much to this one – sprinkle the spices over each salmon fillet, with the salt and pepper. Chill for a couple of hours, to let the flavours combine.

Curry-Spiced Salmon Fillet
Yum. Salmon, bottom left. Obviously.

On the barbecue, either use a dedicated fish holder, or put the salmon on top of greased foil. This is to stop the fish sticking to your barbecue, and won’t affect the flavour at all. Cooking takes around 7 minutes. And if you don’t like the spices (as Gem doesn’t), just leave them out and cook the same way! Try it – delicious.

Roast Chicken (No, Really)

If you get yourself a good barbecue, you can cook a lot more than burgers. In fact, you can even roast a chicken. Ya see, normally with a barbecue, you have your coals directly under where you cook. With an open barbecue, this is pretty much your only option – the heat comes from below, and you turn the food.

If you buy a good closable barbecue, you can cook indirectly – i.e., your food isn’t in direct contact with the searing heat from the coals. The way to do this (summarised here) is to get the coals ready (the normal light -> wait half an hour thing) then move them to either side of the barbecue, leaving a gap in the middle. Put a tray in the middle to catch the drips, then put whatever you’re cooking on top, and leave the lid on. The barbecue then works like a conventional oven (mine was up to 230c), which is great for roasting meat.

Anyway, on with the show.

Ingredients

  • One good barbecue, prepared as above
  • A medium free-range chicken
  • Either
    • A can of lager (go with me on this), or
    • Half a lemon, cut into wedges, A few cloves of garlic, and a bunch of thyme
  • 1tsp salt, 1/2tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1tbsp non-virgin olive oil

Recipe

See the “can of lager” thing above? Ah, well that’s for beer can chicken . The idea is that you pour away half the can, cut the can to about half height, stuff it into the (upright) chicken, and then just put the

Barbecue-roasted chicken
Yum. Note the position of the charcoal, and the tray underneath

chicken on the grill. This gives a lovely moist, malty-tasting chicken (it doesn’t taste of beer). However, it didn’t fit in the grill for me. Oh well. An alternative is to season the bird using oil, salt and pepper, then pour the beer into the tray underneath – it evaporates and flavours the chicken. Trust me, it’s really nice.

For the example in the picture, though, I used the second method. Quite simply, put the sliced lemon into the cavity of the bird, with the thyme and the garlic (crush the cloves lightly, but don’t peel or chop them). Rub the oil over the outside, then sprinkle the salt and pepper over.

You’re ready to cook. Put the chicken above the drip-tray on the barbecue, put the lid on (vents open), and leave it to do its thing. This took about 1 1/2 hours for me with a chicken just over 1kg. But always check if your chicken is cooked – the juices should run clear if you stick a skewer in the thickest part (between thigh and breast).

Before you eat, rest your meat! Put it on a warm plate, cover with foil and leave for 20 minutes or so. This makes it juicier. Enjoy.

Greek Lamb Kebabs

What you do to change this recipe is really up to you. I find it works really well with the ingredients I use, but if you don’t like one of them, swap it for something else.

Makes four large kebabs

Ingredients

  • 1x250g pack lamb neck fillet. I find this cut works really well, and it’s also cheaper than buying lamb cubes. But if you’re feeling flushed, then get the expensive stuff!
  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 1tsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1tsp fresh rosemary, chopped. You could also use mint (probably more authentic) – mine just isn’t growing yet.
  • Half a mild red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1/2tsp cumin
  • Zest of a whole lemon, and juice of half of it
  • One clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2tsp salt, 1/4tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Kebab veg of your choice. In this case I’ve gone for cherry tomatoes, yellow bell pepper, onion and mushrooms. Peppers work very well, courgette does too. If you want to spend more, go for Greek Halloumi – it’s a Cypriot cheese that doesn’t melt on the grill. Really, really good on the barbecue. Otherwise, swap ingredients with whatever you prefer.

Recipe

Greek Lamb Kebabs
Yummy Greek Lamb Kebabs

First, prepare the lamb. It needs to marinade, preferably for 5-6 hours at least. Neck fillet can be a little tough, and the lemon juice in the marinade actually helps to tenderise the meat a little. So, combine the oil with the lemon zest and juice, all of the herbs, cumin, garlic, chilli, salt and pepper. Mix well, then cut your lamb up. Aim to get about twelve pieces – see the picture for a rough guide to size.

Mix the lamb well with the marinade, then cover it with cling film and put it in the fridge. Go to work, or whatever.

Back from work and hungry? Great. The next bit is simple – take your lamb out of the fridge about half an hour before you want to cook it, to let it acclimatise. While it’s doing that, soak four bamboo kebab skewers in cold water (this stops them burning on the grill).

Chop your veg. Everything should be roughly equal size – about an inch cubed. Veg that requires more cooking should be cut smaller, for obvious reasons. You’re finally ready to thread everything onto the skewers – thread the lamb and veg on, in whatever order you prefer. Go for three pieces of lamb per skewer.

When you’re done, use a pastry brush to brush the left over marinade over the veg and lamb. Now go cook on the barbecue! These guys don’t need very long – probably 6-7 minutes, turning once or twice. Serve with a nice cous-cous salad, like the one in the picture. Enjoy.

MattBurgers™

Okay, so they’re not really trademarked. But they’re really good. If you like them too, please leave a comment!

Ingredients

As with all of my recipes, these quantities are rough, and feel free to add or remove ingredients – this isn’t rocket science!

Makes four large burgers

  • 500g standard beef mince. Don’t get value beef, but I’d argue you don’t need expensive lean mince either. The cheaper stuff (this costs about £2) has a higher fat content, which makes the burger juicier.
  • Half a red onion, finely chopped. A white onion would be fine; it’s just an aesthetics thing.
  • 1/2tsp garlic, crushed
  • 1tsp salt, preferably rock salt
  • 1/2tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2tsp cumin. I like cumin, but it is quite strong. Use less, or none, if you prefer.
  • A few pinches of herbs. Oregano and thyme (preferably fresh) go really well. Rosemary works too, especially with lamb.

Recipe

Combine all of the ingredients, using a food processor or a knife to chop the onion. My good friend Mark likes to grate the onion instead. This provides more moisture, which means you don’t need other binders in the mix.

With many burger recipes, it’s recommended that you add an egg to bind the mixture together (and some breadcrumbs, to counter the moisture induced by the egg). In this case, I found I didn’t need either, because of the fat in the meat. But that may be different for you.

MattBurgers™
Patented MattBurgers™ (not a patent), extra rare (i.e., uncooked). Delicious, but much better cooked (a picture will appear soon).

Once everything is combined into a little ball, get your hands dirty! Divide the mixture into four, shape each quarter into a ball, and then compress the ball on top and bottom to get a rough burger shape. If you’re feeling fancy you could use a Burger Press or food cutting-rings, but let’s face it, your mates won’t care.

For well-done burgers, these need about 4-5 minutes per side on the barbecue. 3-4 for medium. They’re also good grilled, should the weather turn on you.

Enjoy this recipe? Let me know in the comments!