This fall was supposed to be THE YEAR for a great pecan harvest again, but all that was foiled by this past summer’s drought. We're very dubious about what kind of pecan crop we’ll see this year. I’m down to only a few cupsful in my stash that I keep in my freezer. Only the most appealing project causes me to dig in. Actually I was saving the last tiny batch for Thanksgiving and Christmas baking—no more than for just a couple of pies.
Then arrived the Southern Living October 2011 issue—all about pecans. No fair! So many tempting things to try; so few pecans (and they’re SO expensive at the grocery store). What weakened my resolve occurred when I saw the recipe for Turkey Burger Patty Melts.
I’ve already blogged about my yearning for all kinds of burgers. This featured recipe had some great combinations—ground turkey mixed with chopped, toasted pecans and Gorgonzola cheese plus seasonings. The bread (recipe called for sourdough, but I used some whole-grain sandwich bread I had on hand) was spread with a cranberry sauce-Dijon mustard combination. Over the warm meat patty went a slice of Monterey Jack cheese. Last went on pieces of fresh arugula (I used pieces of fresh spinach instead). The whole combination was skillet-toasted on both sides.
So I gave in and yielded up the 3/4 cup chopped, treasured pecans required by the recipe. It was tough to part with them but so rewarding! Hubby called this creation “Thanksgiving in sandwich form”. So true—it had turkey, cranberry sauce, nuts, and even spinach—tastes that remind one of the Thanksgiving table. Preparation was a wee-bit time-consuming (first toast the pecans, then broil the meat, then toast the entire sandwich), but the good news was that the same skillet could be used for all three stages with no clean-up in between.
We had some good eatin’ out of these patty melts, but after this, the pecans go back under lock-and-key for sure. No more sacrifices until my annual holiday pecan pie!
Turkey Burger Patty Melts
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
2/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 teaspoon garlic salt (or garlic powder)
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup canned whole berry cranberry sauce
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
12 sourdough bread slices (I used whole-grain bread)
6 (1/4-ounce) Monterey Jack cheese slices
3 cups loosely packed fresh arugula (I used fresh spinach)
Heat pecans in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Stir often. Heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until pecans are toasted and fragrant. In a large bowl combine ground turkey, next 3 ingredients, and pecans. Shape into 6 (1/2-inch thick) patties, shaped to fit bread slices. Cook patties in a large, lightly greased skillet over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until done. Stir together cranberry sauce and Dijon mustard. Spread 1 tablespoon cranberry mixture on 1 side of each bread slice. Layer 6 bread slices with Monterey Jack cheese, spinach, and turkey burgers. Top with remaining bread slices. With cranberry mixture side down, cook sandwiches in batches on hot griddle or in a lightly greased skillet over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until sandwiches are golden brown and cheese melts. Makes 6 servings.