Food by VICE

Chris Traeger's Turkey Burger Recipe

Here's a faithful recreation from 'Binging with Babish' of the burger that couldn't fell Ron Swanson.

by Andrew Rea
Oct 11 2019, 11:00am

Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Servings: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes


for the papaya chutney:
1 medium papaya (about 2 pounds|1 kg), peeled, halved, and seeded
1/3 cup|80 ml apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup|60 grams golden raisins
pinch of saffron threads
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the black truffle aioli
4 large egg yolks
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup|250 ml canola oil
1/4 cup|60 ml black truffle oil

for the cheese crisps:
6 ounces|175 grams Fontina cheese, shredded
6 ounces|175 grams Parmesan cheese, grated

for the turkey burger:
1 small eggplant
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Marmite
1 1/2 pounds|680 grams ground turkey breast
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 brioche buns (gluten-free, if you want to stay true to Chris Traeger’s recipe)
microgreens, to serve


1. Make the papaya chutney: Cut the papaya into 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer the papaya to a small saucepan and add the vinegar, raisins, and saffron. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes, or until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and let cool.

2. Make the aioli: Combine the egg yolks and lemon juice in an immersion blender cup. (Alternatively, use a food processor or standing blender.) Combine the canola oil and truffle oil in a liquid measuring cup and, with the blender running on high, slowly stream the oil mixture down the side of the blender cup. Blend until the mixture is emulsified and has thickened to the consistency of a loose mayonnaise. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use or overnight.

3. Make the cheese crisps: Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or other non-stick pan liner. Combine the two cheeses in a small bowl. Arrange the cheese mixture in four even piles on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and set. Remove the cheese crisps from the pan with a thin spatula and let cool on a wire rack.

4. Make the burger: Heat the oven to 400°F. Cut the top off the eggplant, halve lengthwise, and score crosshatches into the flesh. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and place the eggplant cut-side down. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and soft. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then scoop the eggplant flesh into a large bowl.

5. Add the anchovy paste, soy sauce, and Marmite and whisk until well combined. Add the reserved eggplant and the ground turkey and gently fold together using a rubber spatula until well incorporated. Form the turkey mixture into four patties, pressing a divot into the center of each to prevent the burgers from puffing up during cooking. Season the patties generously with salt and pepper.

6. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the patties to the skillet and sear on both sides until the internal temperature registers 165°F, 5 to 7 minutes total.

7. Toast the brioche buns. Dress the bottom buns with the chutney and top with the microgreens. Place the turkey patties on the microgreens and top with the cheese crisps. Dress the top buns with the aioli, then close the burgers and serve.

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AUTHOR'S NOTE: This recipe has been reprinted with permission of the author from Binging with Babish: 100 Recipes Recreated from Your Favorite Movies and TV Shows.

parks and recreation
Binging with Babish
Andrew Rea
turkey burger
Chris Treager