Michelle's Turkey Burgers with Lemon Mayonnaise

Spike Mendelsohn first made turkey burgers for the Obamas at the 2009 Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn. He then created a version for the First Lady; at Good Stuff, he serves it with Swiss cheese and calls it the Michelle Melt. A portion of all proceeds goes to DC Central Kitchen, which helps feed the homeless.


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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4 servings (8 for kids)

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  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Granny Smith apple
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 small canned chipotle in adobo, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, split and toasted
  • 4 iceberg lettuce leaves
  • 4 tomato slices

How to make this recipe

  1. In a nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil. Add the sliced onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and softened, about 25 minutes. Transfer the onion to a bowl. Wipe out the skillet.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in the skillet. Add the celery, apple and scallions and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the chipotle; let cool. Stir in the turkey, parsley, 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Shape the mixture into four 1/2-inch-thick patties.

  3. In the skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Add the burgers and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until no longer pink inside, 10 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the remaining 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, the lemon juice and chopped thyme and season with salt and pepper. Spread the lemon mayonnaise on the top halves of the buns; set the burgers on the bottom halves and top with the caramelized onions, lettuce and tomato. Close the burgers and serve.

Contributed By Photo © Pernille Pedersen Published July 2010

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