Apple Turkey Burger & Squash Fries

I love Hamburger Night. It’s delicious. I just think there’s something satisfying and fun about sitting down to eat a giant burger and pile of fries, especially when they are prepared in a way that is good for you. Being brought down from a Hamburger Night High by a full & uncomfortable stomach is a terrible ending to a potentially glorious meal. Plus, any dinner that one can eat in a socially acceptable manner with zero utensils is an awesome dinner.

This Turkey/Apple/Scallion/Garam Masala Burger accompanied by squash fries is a good, healthy, any-old-day-of-the-week twist on Hamburger Night. Having squash serve as the fry base instead of potatoes allows me to feel no conflict over the double-starch (bun, oven fries) that occasionally falls on my Hamburger Night plate, and the juiciness of the apples in the turkey burger will make you forget that you’re eating a burger without cheese on it. I promise. This is delicious (and I invented it, I think) (well, I’m not the first person to make squash fries).

For the Squash Fries, you’ll need a squash (I used acorn squash, but I anticipate success with other varieties, as well), olive oil, and any spices you want (I just used salt).

For the turkey burger, you’ll need ground turkey (I used 4oz of 99% lean), a portion of an apple (I used Macintosh because that’s what I have), a few scallions, and any spices you want (I used Garam Masala & salt). Of course if you hate apple, don’t make this. Turkey burgers are really versatile, but I’ll say that more later.

For tools & things, you’ll want a cutting board, knife, vegetable peeler, spoon, cookie tray, maybe a baking rack, some tin foil if you’re lazy, a frying pan, and an oven and a stove.

Okay, let’s get to it!–Squash fries are up first. You’ll be able to make the turkey burger while the fries are cooking and coordinate timing easily, but I’ll just do the whole squash fry process and the whole turkey burger process separately, because I feel like that’ll be easier to read. Oven at 425, please!Acquire le squash, and get to peeling. It was as soon as I took this picture that I realized what I was getting myself into with this ribby acorn squash. But I prefer the density and flavor of acorn squash over that of other squashes, so perhaps it was because of my challengingly-shaped squash choice that I was so overwhelmingly delighted with the final product. I decided that that was well-peeled enough. But I still cut the squash in half in a way that would allow me to easily peel off some more skin.scoop the seeds out of your squash halves. You might notice that your kitchen smells a bit like halloween. Aw, they can’t wait to be made into oven fries (I couldn’t resist)!

Then, do what you can to turn these squash halves into evenly-sized fry-type shapes. Toss these with olive oil (I put a bit in my cupped-palm–it was probably about a tablespoon) and whatever spices you’re using. I just used salt, and it let the subtle flavor of the squash come through. I bet pepper and cinnamon would have been good companions for the salt, too. Although perhaps not both pepper & cinnamon.

Cooking them on a baking rack, like you can see here, will take a bit longer (about an hour, verses 20-25 minutes on a pan), but also allow the fries to cook more evenly and become crispier, browning on all sides. But of course, all of the fries didn’t fit on my one little baking rack, so I had to double up with some fries on a tin-foil (because of laziness re: cleaning pans) covered baking pan. Twenty minutes later, the fries on the pan were cooked (and a little burnt), while the fries on the rack were still stiff and just starting to turn brown. The pan-fries were delicious. Delicious. A bit sweeter than the rack ones, because when the sweetness cooks out of the squash, it sort of caramelizes right on the squash, rather than dripping down through the rack. Both varieties were delicious. But I think I mentioned that about 49 times.

Then, after an hour in the oven, the rack-cooked oven squash fries were done. I do the standard bite-into-it-and-see-if-it’s-cooked test with these. They look like real sweet potato oven fries, huh? Very cool.

Now let’s get to the Apple Turkey Burger creation. I think turkey burgers are awesome because they either taste like the most boring and dry food possible or they taste awesome because of the cool creative stuff you put in them–turkey burgers inspire culinary adventurousness. IĀ  generally try to put things in them that will give them some moisture and some texture–this is definitely my favorite turkey burger so far.

I used about 1/3 of this little apple and 2 scallions. Dice your add-ins. and then put them in a bowl with your turkey. I used half a teaspoon (I measured!!!) of Garam Masala–this was sufficient, but next time I could stand to use a bit more. If you don’t have Garam Masala, try a bit of cinnamon, maybe? Ooh, try ginger. That would be good. I also put a few grinds of salt in here. Sometimes when you’re cooking, it’s time to just dig in with your hands & smoosh stuff about. This is one of those times. It might seem like the turkey burger isn’t going to stay together, but with enough smooshing, it probably will. If things seem really dire, add a little bit of bread crumbs & egg (absolutely not an entire egg–just like. a teeny bit of one) to pull it all together more. But usually, you can get an over-stuffed turkey burger to stay together with pure perseverance. Then cook it in a pammed-pan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes a side. You don’t want this rare. And it’s not the end of the world if it’s a bit overcooked, since the apples will lend moisture. Don’t touch the burger as it’s cooking–the more it’s messed with and flipped, the more easily it will fall apart. One day, I will get a grill pan.

Okay! Stick it on a bun, and then enjoy a very very delicious, well-balanced, and healthy yet somehow indulgent dinner!

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17 Comments to “Apple Turkey Burger & Squash Fries”

  1. This looks amazing. I never would have guessed those were squash fries. I’ve never cooked turkey before. Does it take a long time? Is it like chicken where you can’t have it pink at all?

    • Turkey cooks really similarly to chicken, yes, and I bet these would be yummy with ground chicken, too. I cooked this burger at about 5 minutes a side — you definitely don’t want any pink!

      And the squash fries are cool. You know that they’re squash when you’re eating them, but as long as you cook them for a long enough time, they get the firmness of a fry and the mooshiness of the squash isn’t present at all.

      yum yum yum

  2. You’re awesome. I’m hungry. This page gives me so many ideas that I want to follow through with. I thought the fries were sweet potato fries at first!!!

  3. This looks so good and even better it is so good for you. I love burgers and fries and will happily try this recipe out in order to find something that is both satisfying and won’t put me in a food coma afterwards. Thanks for sharing this!

  4. I ALMOST didn’t read this entry cause I was like, turkey burger, blahblahblah – but then I read APPLE and GARAM MASALA and that you used an ACORN SQUASH and I was sucked in. šŸ™‚ I’ve been hesitant to buy an acorn squash because I had no idea what to do with it, but this is fantastic – plus I love the add ins you chose for your turkey burger. Looks delicious!

    • hah, turkey burgers can be pretty lame–I’m so delighted that my variety drew you in!

      Squash fries are a good introduction to squash cooking, because they’re totally approachable. I mean, as approachable as a squash cooking method can be. I hope you enjoy whatever you do with your acorn squash!

  5. Oh my that looks delicious!

  6. Hi Sarah,
    You have a lot of patience to put all those photos in there! It all looks fabulous!
    SueAnn

  7. Just checked out your site for the first time. I cannot wait to try both the burger and the squash fries.

    Adding your blog to my favorite foodie sites!

  8. I just wanted to say that the new design is beautiful.

  9. I cannot wait to try this, it looks so good! I am really happy you stopped by my blog, I gained a new reader and I have a new blog to enjoy as well!

  10. Sounds good, I tend to do baked sweet potato fries alot. Will try the squash…

  11. I like how the squash fries are golden- it helps keep up the illusion that they’re fried.
    Your photos are always great!

  12. My mom always makes “acorn squash” with the skin still on it. Have you tried the fries that way? It will add another layer of texture to the fries.
    Also, I never realized it was called acorn squash. We always referred to it as a pumpkin. Then again we always referred to it in Spanish so…

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