A Surprise Discovery and One Delicious Burger

Because aspirations change

 Last night, I had a surprise. As some of you may, or may not know, my husband and I entered the Aviemore Half Marathon this October. I’ve chosen my training programme from my Runner’s World Complete Guide to Women’s Running, and thought I started the 12-week programme next week. I was very surprised to discover, after counting back the weeks from October 13th, that I start half marathon training this week. Tomorrow in fact. Surprise to me! Bring on the feelings of excitement, nerves, and fear. I want this, I’m looking forward to this, but I know this will be hard. My friends on Facebook have wished me well, and have also all said in some shape or form that I’ve got this. I just need to believe it myself.

It seems like the entire Northern Hemisphere is experiencing a heatwave: even in Scotland we’ve had scorching days requiring sunscreen to be applied, windows to be opened, skirts to be worn, and outdoor eating to be done. My husband and I have been BBQ-ing every night for a while now, and have fallen in love with a new type of burger. I  haven’t posted a recipe for a very long time, not since May, when I asked you Do you know what you’re eating this weekend? (and next week?), (those recipes are all very applicable still, by the way), and now I want to share with you my most precious recipe find in a while: the Turkey Spanakopita Burger. 
I’m in love with beef burgers, I enjoy chicken burgers, and will even eat the occasional veggie burger, but I never thought I’d enjoy a turkey because I have a secret – I’m indifferent to turkey. The recipe states you can use either ground (minced) chicken or turkey, so naturally, I opted for chicken, optimistically assuming that my butcher would be able to grind (or mince if we’re in the UK) a few breasts of chicken through his industrial-sized meat grinder, used only for beef, (difficult to clean, would most likely lead to cross-contamination and the possibility of food-poisoning bacteria). After taking my food hygiene course, and reading that sentence I realise I was totally naive, and wasn’t going to get ground chicken breast unless I ground it myself, which was not happening. So I went to Tesco and bought minced turkey breast, and hoped that my new found burgers would be delicious. I’ll cut to the chase: they were.
This was created by Rachel Ray, and for all you lucky American and Canadian readers, you follow this link to the recipe in US cups, which makes four burgers. For all other readers, I’ve converted the recipe into UK quantities (when applicable), and increased the quantities to make more for a BBQ with friends and/or family, or to freeze for easy weekday meals. I’ve also reduced the amount of feta cheese.
Turkey Spanakopita Burgers
Spanakopita is a Greek vegetarian dish made of spinach, onions and garlic, and feta cheese, all between layers of filo pastry.
1 knob of butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3/4’s of a red onion, finely chopped
12oz frozen spinach, defrosted
100g feta cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp Montreal Steak Spice (found at Asda, in the spice aisle)
1 kg minced turkey breast

1. In a frying pan, melt the butter and olive oil together, then sautée the onions and garlic at medium low heat for five minutes, or until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

2. Once cool, you can form your burgers. In a large bowl, mix together the turkey, feta, onions and garlic, oregano and Montreal Steak Spice. Drain your spinach and add to the bowl; I use my kitchen scissors to cut the spinach into smaller, manageable pieces. Mix and form into patties; I made 9 patties, each weighing 175g. Chill in fridge before cooking to let flavours meld together, or freeze to grill later.

3. Fire up the BBQ to medium heat, and grill for about 6 minutes each side. Serve with whatever you’d like, though I do recommend a Greek-inspired salad to then use some as a burger top.


Delicious, full of flavour, and just another way us runners can get our protein, (turkey breast gives us a whopping 30g of protein per 100g – source).

The first time I made this recipe for a family BBQ, I expected to only cook two out of the six I made for my husband and I, thinking no one would be interested in them. I was wrong, they were a hit! My in-laws loved them, as did my sister-in-law, and we ended the day with one burger left. I’ve since made the recipe again, and wrapped the extra patties in two’s, in plastic wrap to freeze. I can pull out a bundle the night before work to thaw, then have a delicious and quick dinner the next day. The thawing process also produced more flavoursome and garlicky burgers.

So practical
 Back to reality tomorrow after three very fast weeks of holiday. Time for bed.
What races do you have coming up?
Are you using a training plan?
What’s your favourite burger recipe? 
What’s your favourite turkey/chicken burger recipe?

7 thoughts on “A Surprise Discovery and One Delicious Burger

  1. Yay half marathon training! You'll do great. I absolutely 100% promise that, despite the daunting mileage, your apprehensions are far worse than reality. Plus, you've already made it up to 10 miles, so you really don't have very far to go.

  2. Pingback: 2013: The Year that Was | I Eat Therefore I Run

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