Meat Lite: Turkey-Ricotta Burgers With Leeks and Dill


Turkey-ricotta burgers cook up incredibly moist, with a fluffy, yielding texture and tons of flavor. [Photograph: Lauren Rothman]

I love making turkey burgers: ground turkey, which can be kind of bland, is a perfect vehicle for a variety of spices and flavorings. When I cook beef burgers, I always keep things simple with plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper; with turkey I tend to go pretty crazy, never making my burgers the same way twice but always adding plenty of dried and fresh herbs, spices, and often a dollop of something moist and fatty like yogurt to keep the meat juicy as it cooks.

I seem to have extraordinary luck with these turkey burgers, and they always come out great. So when I was recently mulling over the idea of a "meat lite" turkey burger—seems like an oxymoron, doesn't it?—the nutty idea of replacing quite a bit of the turkey meat with rich, milky ricotta cheese flew into my mind, and I decided to just go for it, whipping up a turkey and ricotta mixture folded through with soft leeks and garlic, accented with fresh dill, and all fried up in a cast-iron pan.

People: I had never made these "burgers" before tonight, and they are singularly the best turkey burger I have ever cooked or eaten. The light, delicate meat mixture barely bound with just a bit of fresh breadcrumbs and broken up here and there by the oniony sweetness of caramelized leeks cooks up incredibly moist, with a fluffy, yielding texture and so much flavor that the burgers barely need any condiments, just a warm toasted bun. My days of kitchen-sink turkey burgers are over: this is the only recipe I'll need from now on.