- The Washington Times - Monday, October 6, 2003

It wasn’t that long ago that ground turkey was hard to find. Now it’s available in all kinds of forms — bulk, logs or patties — in almost every supermarket. You also have a choice of ground turkey breast or thigh meat.

Why does it matter what part of the bird the ground meat comes from? There are two big issues: fat and flavor.

On an ounce-per-ounce comparison, ground turkey breast has less than half the fat of turkey thigh meat. If you’re scrupulous about trimming fat from your diet, breast meat is the way to go.

A small turkey breast patty has about 1 grams of fat, and you can’t get much better than that on a low-fat diet.

However, the higher fat content of the turkey thigh also makes it more juicy and flavorful, which means you’re more likely to enjoy it. If you don’t want a dry and tough turkey burger, opt for thigh meat.

You don’t have to worry too much about fat content if you choose turkey thigh meat.

Compared with ground beef, turkey thigh meat is still a calorie and fat bargain. Even 90 percent lean ground beef has about twice the fat of turkey thigh.

If weight watching has put a damper on your burger eating, make the switch from beef to ground turkey.

To compensate for turkey’s blander taste, top the burger with a savory mixture of sauteed mushrooms, a shallot and rosemary. Add a side of slaw and savor a healthful and fun meal.

Turkey burgers with mushroom topping

Mushroom topping (recipe follows)

pound ground turkey thigh meat

1 garlic clove, minced

Salt, pepper

Cooking spray for greasing skillet

2 hamburger buns, optional

Prepare the mushroom topping. Set aside, keeping warm while burgers are cooked.

Combine turkey and garlic, and shape into burgers. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray.

Add the burgers, and cook over medium heat 5 minutes per side or until no pink remains.

Serve turkey burgers in buns or plain, and add the mushroom topping. Serves 2.

MUSHROOM TOPPING:

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 tablespoons chicken broth

1 cup chopped oyster mushrooms

1 shallot, minced

teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons dry vermouth

Salt, pepper

2 tablespoons fat-free half-and-half, optional

Heat oil and broth in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, shallot and rosemary. Cook for 3 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender, stirring frequently. Add the vermouth.

Turn up the heat and scrape the skillet to release any browned bits. Reduce the heat to low. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in half-and-half, if desired. Cover and set aside.

Spicy cole slaw

2 cups finely chopped red cabbage

1 small apple, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 small jalapeno chili, seeded and minced

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 to 3 teaspoons sugar

Salt, pepper

Combine cabbage, apple and chili in a medium bowl. Combine vinegar, vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons sugar and salt and pepper to taste in a cup. Stir to blend.

Taste. Add remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, if desired, for a sweet-sour flavor. Pour over salad and toss. Makes 2 servings.

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