Building Another Better Burger

The Sutter Home® Build a Better Burger Recipe Contest has come and gone.

Thank goodness I noticed the deadline soon enough to enter this year. I am usually on top of the dates of the contests I enter every year, but I haven’t been as available as I used to be with my contest entries.

I knew I wanted to create a turkey burger, since I had created a really simple turkey burger the week before that got rave reviews from “Mr. Special”. (He does like most things I fix!! I think I’ll keep him!)

Now I just had to think up the plan for the ingredients for the turkey burger and any toppings I wanted to add. I had never cooked with the Sutter Home® White Merlot  but I had tasted the sweet wine before. I had a good feeling that with a turkey burger and being an inside ingredient this wine would be a great addition to the recipe. I grabbed a bottle. As for the remaining portion, I didn’t mind drinking after I created my entry.

So, I got lost in the super market once again. (I always advise this of anyone, no matter if you’re thinking up a new recipe or not. We get into a habit of simply looking at our must haves on a list.) I love looking for ingredients I’ve never used before and thinking up ways to incorporate them into a new recipe. At my local market, they have numerous types of samples throughout the market to try while shopping. On this day, one of which was an edamame (baby soybean) hummus. This is one that I know will be buying often. I could tell by how many times I was in the aisle where the sample was located. YUMM!  So, needless to say, a couple of packages went flying into the cart and in to the new recipe floating around in my head.

This could make a great spread for the burger.

I noticed some graffiti eggplants.  I had never used these in any recipe, so I decided to try them. I bought one feeling like only one would probably be enough to cut thin slices, bake with spices and olive oil coated on them. I also noticed Anaheim peppers. Just one flew into the cart and I am thankful it did.

The flavor was light enough and was a little different from the bell pepper that usually makes it to the ingredient list.

I looked on my list for other groceries I wanted to pick up on my adventure and I noticed turkey bacon. Boy, do I love turkey bacon and so glad that I do seeing as I’ve been watching my cholesterol level for a couple months now and doing pretty good, I might add. So, I then decided turkey bacon would be a great addition along with the graffiti eggplant slices to top the turkey burger. This would also add to the healthy aspect of the burger.

I wanted to stuff the inside of the burger with cheese. I pushed the cart to the cheese section of the store and noticed a few types and picked up Havarti and Jarlsberg. I felt that Havarti although a good melting cheese would be a good one to use, but wasn’t feeling that it was strong flavored enough to make an impact on the burger. But, it was worth a try and I know “Mr. Special” wouldn’t mind trying another one of my “not good enough for a contest entry” recipes. I grabbed the Jarlsberg (an aged Swiss cheese) that has a little bit of a “bite” and tangy flavor and felt it may be a good one to add.

Once I got home and put everything together, the Jarlsberg won out for the center cheese. I had fun tasting both.  I made the burger with Radicchio but changed to Bibb lettuce on the contest entry.

Here’s the recipe I entered into the contest. It was very YUMMY!! Enjoy!

Cheese-Stuffed Double Turkey and Graffiti Eggplant Burgers

Grilled on an open flame, this cheese-stuffed turkey burger is very flavorful. Even though a healthy choice, that’s the last thing on the mind of the person eating this burger.

The bold flavors of onion, garlic, pepper and basil along with the savoriness of Jarlsberg cheese envelope the palate. Jarlsberg, a bold, aged Swiss cheese along with Sutter Home’s White Merlot gives this turkey burger uniqueness and character. Layered on a whole wheat bun along with turkey bacon, marinated graffiti eggplant slices and topped with a tangy, spicy soy hummus displays more character to this tasty, lean turkey burger.

No matter the occasion, whether it casual or formal, this burger is a memorable addition to any table.

Yields: 6 burgers

Prep time: 1 hour         Cook time: 28 minutes

Total time: 1 Hour and 28 Minutes (includes 30 minutes marinating time)


3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Sutter Home White Merlot wine (divided)

1/2 small sweet onion, finely chopped (divided)

4 garlic cloves, minced (divided)

3 teaspoons sea salt (divided)

3 teaspoons black pepper (divided)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 graffiti eggplant

2 pounds lean ground turkey

½ cup quick cooking oats (not instant)

1 Anaheim pepper, minced (seeds removed)

2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

2 large egg whites

4 to 5 ounces low fat Jarlsberg cheese, sliced into thin slices

6 to 9 slices turkey bacon

1 head bibb lettuce

1-10 ounce package edamame hummus (with roasted red peppers and toasted sesame)

6 whole wheat or whole grain hamburger buns


Create marinade for eggplant. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup wine, 2 tablespoons onion, 1 teaspoon garlic, 1/2 teaspoon both salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup olive oil and mix thoroughly. Peel eggplants lengthwise; leaving stripes of skin on sides. Slice into thin slices. Place eggplant in a large bowl, and pour marinade over eggplant. Evenly coat all pieces on both sides. Let sit about 15 minutes or longer, mixing it up occasionally.

While eggplant is marinating, prepare burgers. In a large bowl combine turkey, Anaheim pepper, basil, egg whites, oats and remaining wine, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover and place in refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Spray grates of grill with non-stick cooking spray. Prepare grill on medium-high heat.

Start creating a burger patty with a handful of turkey mixture. Once formed for a small burger, place 4 to 5 slices of cheese in center; overlapping and concentrating in center of burger. Take another handful of turkey mixture and place over top of cheese. Press around to seal and form into a 1-inch thick burger. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper on both sides. Repeat with remaining burgers. Grill burgers for 10 to 12 minutes or until turkey is no longer pink in the center, turning once or twice until fully cooked. While burgers cook, lay strips of bacon directly on grill grates. Flip every 3 or 4 minutes for 10 to 12 minutes.

 Place eggplant slices on hot grill grates, discard marinade. Cook until charred and softened, turning occasionally, about 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside cooked eggplant slices on a plate.

 Toast inside sides of hamburger buns on grill for 2 to 3 minutes just until lightly toasted. Remove from grill and place a bottom bun on a plate, lay slices of lettuce then stack a burger patty, 2 to 3 half slices of bacon and lay on top of burger patty, then 3 to 5 slices of eggplant on top. On the inside of a top bun spread a tablespoon or more of hummus. Place on top of burger. Repeat with remaining ingredients, creating 6 burgers. Serve warm.

About Angela Milani

My love of cooking has taken over. I was on the net one day and saw an ad for a recipe contest. I entered. Then, I entered another. Then another, and so on and when I won a contest... an entire year's worth of tomato products, I was hooked. Since then, I've entered many many different recipe contests. I have won a trip to New York, entries into cook-offs, a recipe published in a Kraft/Paula Deen cookbook and many food products and food related items. I enjoy cooking and entering recipe contests. I hope I spark an interest in others to create something they can be proud of. I'm always getting more ideas from the internet. Wow, I remember not having the internet years ago. It's a God send and I'm trying to cover every inch of the food sites!! Join me in my quest to keep fresh ideas flowing and creating new and exciting dishes.
This entry was posted in Cheese, Havarti, Jarlsberg, Meats, Poultry, Sandwiches, Sauces, Turkey, Vegetables and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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