About mid-way through BBQ season (which in Canada really amounts to about 3 months) plain ol’ burgers just get boring, but thankfully the basic recipe allows for plenty of room to play around. There really are endless variations on the basic theme, considering the meat, seasonings and mix-ins are all interchangeable as long as you can make a cohesive patty in the end. Why settle for ground beef, parsley and onions when you can have lamb and mint topped with tzatziki… or beef, blue cheese and portobello… or turkey, curry and green onions?
While my pyromaniac tendencies mean I’ll find just about any excuse I can to grill up a storm, last week’s heat wave and the sputtering death of a 20 year old air conditioner conspired to send me in a desperate hunt for new things to throw onto the BBQ in an effort to avoid having my already-sweltering apartment reach rainforest-like levels of heat and humidity.
Inspired by a bottle of long-neglected mango chutney, a pack of ground turkey, a great deal on corn over at the grocery store around the corner and a trick learned from an East Indian friend, you can consider this a Southeast Meets West kind of BBQ dinner.
Curry Turkey (or Chicken) Burgers
1 lb ground turkey (or chicken)
1 tbsp curry paste
1 tbsp mango chutney
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
3 green onions, finely sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
4 burger buns
In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients. (Don’t be a wuss. Get your hands in there and actually knead the mixture together, or else it’s never going to be properly combined.)
Cover with plastic wrap and set in fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Lightly oil grill and set on high to preheat. Remove turkey mixture from fridge. Divide mixture into four equal portions, and shape into patties approximately 1/2″ thick.
Place patties on preheated grill, reducing temperature to medium-high, and cook about 5 minutes per side or until cooked through. Serve on toasted buns with toppings of choice (I personally recommend lettuce, a dollop of mango chutney and cucumber slices).
Spicy Grilled Corn
4 ears corn, with husks intact
1 lime, cut into quarters
4 tbsp seasoning salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Carefully peel back the husk from each ear of corn about halfway down, being careful to keep it as intact as possible. Remove as much of the corn silk as possible without damaging the husk, then gently smooth the husk back over the corn.
Place corn in a large pot and cover with water. Soak for at least 15 minutes.
Grill soaked corn over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, for 20 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, mix together seasoning salt and cayenne. Pour into a clean, empty spice bottle with shaker top and set aside.
Remove corn from grill and set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Peel back the husk carefully (the corn will be very hot!), and either twist into a handle or cut off with a sharp knife.
To serve, rub corn with a quarter of lime to coat thoroughly, then pass around spice bottle with cayenne misture to allow each diner to sprinkle with as much spice as they think they can handle (wimps may want just a sprinkle, whereas gluttons for punishment will probably prefer a much more liberal application).