Get your burger on: Summertime is grillin’ time

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Hot summer days call for firing up the grill and cooking some burgers. We’ve taken two of Virginia’s top commodities and found fresh ways to prepare them.

Try a mushroom merlot burger recipe from the Virginia Beef Council or a basil and vegetable turkey burger from the National Turkey Federation.

Mushroom Merlot Burgers

1 pound 95 percent lean ground beef
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 large portobello mushrooms
4 slices French bread, cut diagonally ½” thick
2 ounces goat cheese (1/2 cup)
4 romaine lettuce leaves
chopped fresh parsley (optional)


1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 cup Merlot or other dry red wine
1/4 cup ready-to-serve beef broth
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

To prepare the sauce, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. Add shallots; cook and stir 6- 8 minutes or until caramelized. Stir in wine, broth and thyme. Cook over medium-high heat 8-10 minutes or until liquid is reduced to a half cup. Combine butter and flour; whisk into the sauce. Stir in salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, 2 tablespoons parsley, salt and pepper, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Lightly shape into four ½” thick patties. Set aside.

Place mushrooms on a grill, uncovered, for 16 to 18 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally. About 10 minutes before mushrooms are done, move them to the outer edge of the grill. Place patties on center of the grill over medium heat, cover and and cook 8-10 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the center of the burgers registers 160°. Place bread slices on the grill until toasted, turning once.

Reheat sauce, if necessary. Spread half of cheese on toasted bread slices. Top each with lettuce leaf, mushroom and burger; drizzle evenly with sauce. Crumble remaining goat cheese over tops; sprinkle with parsley, if desired. 

Basil Turkey Burgers with Grilled Vegetables

3 pounds ground turkey
1/3 cup fresh basil, cut chiffonade
9 ounces sweet onion, minced
3 large eggs 
3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cups panko bread crumbs
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 medium eggplants, peeled and sliced thin
3 medium zucchini, sliced thin
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh basil, cut chiffonade
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup mayonnaise
12 ounces Muenster cheese, sliced and halved
12 lettuce leaves, washed, dried and chilled
24 thin slices of tomato
12 kaiser rolls

To make the burgers, combine ground turkey, basil, onion, eggs, Parmesan, vinegar, bread crumbs and black pepper. Form into 5-ounce patties; cover and refrigerate.

Toss the eggplant and zucchini in a mixing bowl with oil and pepper. Combine the basil, balsamic vinegar and mayonnaise in a small mixing bowl. Season with pepper; cover and refrigerate.

Place the sliced vegetables on a grill, and cook on both sides until tender. Set aside. Grill the turkey burgers, turning once until the internal temperature reaches 165℉. Remove to an oven-proof dish.

Top the burgers with eggplant and zucchini. Top with 1 ounce Muenster cheese and put back on the grill to melt the cheese.

Toast buns on the grill, and remove to plates. Assemble burgers with lettuce and tomato slices. Serve with basil mayonnaise on the side.

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