Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tribute to the 13 Colonies Part III – Turkey Burgers in a Francaise Glaze with Thyme Mushrooms, Feta Cheese and Avocado-Caper Mayonnaise

CALI VIZSLA and SIERRA VIZSLA hiking with Mom and Dad in Kent, CT
Photo by Dave Popoff (used with permission)

Today we are traveling to Connecticut where my husband, Dan, was born.  The Puritans established the colony in the mid 1600’s.  Connecticut became the fifth state in 1788.
Source: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/When_did_Connecticut_become_a_state

Although small, Connecticut is a very diverse.  There are beautiful coastal regions, mountainous areas, and scenic New England back roads.  Stamford, where my husband was born, is now often referred to as a “little New York City.”
Many French Canadian families, like my husband’s, immigrated to Connecticut.  In the case of my husband’s family, it was by way of Fall River Massachusetts.   So you will often find many French-inspired restaurants in the various cities and towns around the state. 

Connecticut is also known as the “Nutmeg state.”  Nutmeg was considered a valuable spice back in the 1700’s and 1800’s and was often brought back by returning sailors for trading.  Source: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_is_Connecticut_call_the_nutmeg_state.
Mystic Pizza was made famous on its own and from the movie with the same name.  When I passed through Mystic about thirteen years ago, I didn’t get to eat at Mystic Pizza as it was closed.  I did find my way to a wonderful little seafood place at the top of a hill overlooking the ocean.  I cannot remember the name, and as I was on a business trip, I didn’t get any pictures to savor the memory.  Although I can tell you, the food was as excellent as the view.

One fact that I did not know about Connecticut until recently was that the first hamburger was said to have been created at Louis’ Lunch in New Haven.  Source:   http://www.louislunch.com/history.php
In thinking about what recipe I would create to encompass all that is Connecticut, I decided to create a turkey burger with French influences in honor of the state.

Francaise and Piccata are often used interchangeably.  I understand from cooking over the years that the only difference in the two is that Francaise is prepared in the “French style” where the meat is dipped in egg before it is dredged in flour, whereas Piccata is simply dredged in flour and then sautéed in olive oil.  
You won’t have to worry about doing that here as this is a burger.  I used a store-bought Francaise sauce to make this dish.   There are several good quality brands on the market right now.   You can also whip up your favorite Piccata sauce; a little wine, butter, lemon and cream should suffice.  If you are foodie and you read this blog and you have an easy Piccata or Francaise sauce, feel free to post your link in the comment for my readers to share.

Oh, and I managed to incorporate a little nutmeg in this recipe, too!
Since I understand that Cali and Sierra were born in California, I wanted to also make a recipe that would remind them of wine county, or pair well with wine.   I can totally see those two dogs running around a vineyard.  So in honor of Cali and Sierra - dog lover that I am - this burger is a little bit Connecticut with a touch of California fusion. 
Serves 4.

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 cup store-bought Francaise or Piccata sauce (or make your favorite)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup sliced mushrooms (white or baby bella or a combination)
3 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped of leaves
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

For the Avocado-Caper Mayonnaise:

1 small Florida or one large Hass Avocado
2 tablespoons canola oil Mayonnaise
½ tablespoon capers, rinsed

Other: 

Cooking spray for skillet (optional)
4 Hamburger rolls
Fresh spinach (optional)
Additional nutmeg for grating (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
A one pound ground turkey to a mixing bowl.  Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  Form into four even-sized patties, being careful to not compress the turkey too tightly.

In a very hot cast iron or heavy oven-safe skillet sprayed with cooking spray, add the four patties.  Be sure to not overcrowd you pan.   Cook for three minutes one side until you get a nice crust and flip burgers. 
Add the Francaise sauce over the burgers and brush so that the burgers are coated evenly.  Carefully transfer the pan to the oven.  Continue to cook for about seven minutes or until the internal temperature of the burgers reaches 165 degrees. 






Enjoy!  The burger is a meal in itself. I suggest making a few baked chips to go along.

Next up, Georgia is on my mind!

Oh, and I almost forgot, Laurie at lauriescravings.blogspot.com gave me the "addictive blog award."  Thank you, Laurie.  Please check out her blog.   I will pay the love forward to other bloggers with the award as soon as I finish my summer series.   Look for that down the road. 
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