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Easy turkey burgers get kick from pepper

Thursday, December 06, 2001

By Suzanne Martinson, Food Editor, Post-Gazette

You might think of Kristin Morton Kozusko and her husband, Andrew Kozusko, of Ross as a "cooking couple," but that doesn't mean that they don't sometimes need a dinner that is fast and easy to make.


This is her first contribution to Countdown to Dinner -- an interesting recipe for Cheese-Stuffed Turkey Burgers, which she makes on the couple's Calphalon grill pan. She came onto the recipe on bettycrocker.com -- when she was searching for something else. A baking tip perhaps, as she is an avid cake baker.

She does use the ground turkey breast and advises using the whole jalapeno, because it gives a "nice kick." (We did, too, and we're glad.)

In a moment of insanity, we also tried the sandwich with an out-of-season tomato. Dreadful in December, awesome in August.

"I never use the tomato," she says.

Any brand salsa will do, she says. We assumed the two of them don't eat the whole batch at a single sitting, and they don't. "I use whatever's left for lunch the next day. I just heat it up."

Another option might be to form the uncooked meat into patties and freeze each one separately for a no-mix, fast-saute supper during the frantic holiday season. The reason for the odd amount of pepper is that she halved the original recipe.

Kristin, starting her third year as a librarian with the Downtown law firm of Meyer Darragh Buckler Bebenek & Eck, earned her master's in library science at the University of Pittsburgh. She grew up in McCandless and graduated from North Allegheny High School.

She and Andrew, a lawyer with Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, Downtown, did their undergraduate work at Grove City College.

The cooking couple likes to shop in the Strip District for ingredients.

Her husband typically cooks at least once a week, even making his own salad dressing.

Cheese-Stuffed Turkey Burgers

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey breast
1/2 to 1 jalapeno chili, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup diced Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers
3/8 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup thick and chunky salsa (additional for topping, if desired)
6 hamburger buns, split and toasted
6 slices tomato, optional

Heat coals or gas grill. Mix turkey, chili, cheese, pepper and salsa. Shape mixture into 6 patties, each about 3/4 inch thick.

Cover and grill patties 4 to 6 inches from medium heat 12 to 15 minutes, turning once, until no longer pink in center. (We did ours on an open grill pan, cooking each side about 4 minutes.) Serve on buns with tomato slices and additional salsa. Makes 6.

Note from Kristin: I have always made these on my grill pan. I would think they could be broiled, too.

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