Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Turkey, Sage and Onion Burger with Chip Shop Style Fritters

Sage and onion is a classic stuffing type, frequently prepared and served with roast turkey at Thanksgiving or Christmas. In the approach to the year end holiday period 2011, I was working a few days ago on coming up with Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes for One, specifically for those people forced through circumstances to spend Thanksgiving alone and for whom a whole turkey would clearly be impractical. The turkey, sage and onion burger is one idea I came up with and I prepared it for that project simply with homemade fries. As I was eating it, I started wondering what else could be served with it to provide something a little bit different from fries.

I began thinking along the lines of potato based fast foods which can easily be made at home but provide an alternative to chips or French fries. I quickly came up with the idea of British chip shop style potato fritters. If you have never tried these simple creations, I would urge you to give them a go. They normally consist of thick slices of potato, dipped in a flour, water and salt batter and deep fried in hot oil. In this instance, however, I have firstly parboiled the potato slices, to make for softer, fluffier centres for the fritters.

Ingredients per Serving

1/2lb minced/ground turkey
1/4 small white onion, finely diced
1 soft bread roll
1/2 tsp dried sage
1oz pizza mozzarella cheese (optional)
1 large floury/starchy potato (any type normally used for baking)
3 tbsp plain/all purpose flour
Cold water
Salt and pepper
1 tsp freshly chopped parsley for garnish


Peel the potato and slice it lengthwise to a thickness of just under half an inch or around 1cm. If you have a clean wire basket, usually used for deep frying, it is an excellent idea to place it in to your pot before adding cold water and the potato slices. This makes it much easier to drain the potatoes without the risk of them breaking up in a colander. Put the pot on a high heat until the water boils, then reduce the heat to simmer for ten minutes.

Take the pot to the sink and simply lift the basket clear before pouring out the water. Rinse the pot with cold water to cool it, half fill it with cold water and place the basket back inside, ensuring all the potato slices are covered. Leave like this to cool for five minutes. Drain again and lay the potato slices in a plastic dish with a lid. Refrigerate while you go on to prepare firstly your batter and then your burger.

Spoon the flour in to a small plastic dish, large enough only to accommodate each potato slice one at a time. Season with half a teaspoon of salt and mix. Add some cold water to a jug and very slowly add the water to the flour in stages, mixing between each pour, until you have a batter the consistency of thick cream. If you accidentally add too much water, simply add a little more flour. Ensure the batter is smooth, place the lid on the dish and add this dish also to the refrigerator.

The turkey, onion and sage should all be added to a stone or glass mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly by hand before rolling in to a ball and flattening between the palms of your hand to a burger patty around three-quarters of an inch to an inch thick. Bring some vegetable oil up to a medium heat in a non-stick frying pan and add the burger to fry for about twelve minutes each side on a gentle heat, turning only once. This may sound a long time but keep the heat low and ensure the burger is cooked through completely before serving. Do not press down on the burger as it cooks - this forces the juices out in to the pan and makes the cooked burger dry and unpalatable. Check it is cooked by piercing the centre with a skewer and pressing on the hole to ensure the juices run clear - or use a meat thermometer, following the manufacturer's instructions.

When the turkey burger is cooked, turn off the heat and push the pan to a cooler part of your stove top. Leave the burger alone to rest. Bring your deep fryer to a high heat and fetch the potato slices and batter from the refrigerator.

This bit requires great care as it is necessary to lower the fritters in to the oil by hand, one at a time. Dip each potato slice in the batter to coat and hold it up for a couple of seconds to allow the excess to drip back in to the dish. Very gently, lower the fritter in to the oil, keeping your fingers well clear. Continue until all the slices have been actioned in this way. Do not overload your fryer. After around three minutes, turn the fritters using a metal slotted spoon or spatula with a plastic handle, carefully separating any which have stuck together. When the batter is beautifully golden, transfer the fritters to a plate covered with kitchen paper to drain.

The bread roll should be opened up and lightly toasted. If you wish to omit the cheese, simply lay the burger on the bottom half of the roll and serve the fritters alongside. If you wish to include the cheese, lay the burger on the bottom half of the roll and three slices of pizza mozzarella (or perhaps cheddar?) on top and melt under an overhead grill. Garnish with the roughly chopped parsley.

Note that salt and malt vinegar are the traditional and popular condiments for these type of fritters.


  1. this sounds like a delish recipe, but sadly I have lived in England for 3 years and have never seen the potato dish here. We do however have it in my home country, Australia! We call it a potato scollop there and they are my fav! I wish England had them because my hang over cure used to be potato scollops with chicken salt and tartare sauce. I am defo going to try these burgers

  2. Hello, Meagan

    Thank you very much for your visit and comment and I really hope you enjoy the burger. Re the potatoes, I am surprised that you haven't found them in England. Many fish and chip shops will sell them as, "Potato fritters." If you ever head up to Scotland, you will get them in every single fish and chip shop, known simply as fritters.

    Hopefully, however, you will now give them a try for yourself :)