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Christmas Burger

Introduction & method

As Christmas approaches, I've noticed burger shops, especially independent ones, creating their own version of a Christmas burger. Many of them are not very Christmassy. I decided to create my own, using as many of the elements of a traditional Christmas dinner as possible.

Christmas Burger Recipe

Make turkey stock

For the gravy gel slice, you'll need some really good turkey stock. Because it takes a while to do this, you'll need to make it the day before. Strip the meat from a turkey leg and put the skin and bones into a large stockpot (or a slow cooker/crockpot). Add the coarsely cut onion (and skin), carrot and celery. Top up with water and begin heating it. Add bayleaves, peppercorns and parsley. Bring to the boil, put a lid on it and turn the heat down to a simmer. In a pot on a stove-top, you'll need to simmer it for at least 4 hours, but longer won't hurt. Check the liquid level from time to time to make sure you have plenty. In a slow cooker/crockpot, you'll want to cook it for at least 8 hours or overnight. If you're in a hurry, you can cook it in a pressure cooker for 30-60 minutes.

Strain the liquid from the solids and boil rapidly to reduce by half. Check for seasoning - I usually add 1 tsp of salt. Strain the stock through a muslin cloth (cheesecloth) and allow to cool. Remove any fat that floats to the top.

Make the turkey patties

A good burger pattie needs plenty of fat, about 20%, to make it juicy. Ready-minced turkey meat tends to be very lean, so it's best to make your own mince. If you don't have a mincer, try to find a friendly butcher who'll do it for you. I bought a turkey leg and stripped the meat from it. I used pork back fat and minced the meat and fat together using the medium plate. Divide the mince into balls weighing about 130 grams (4½ ounces) and flatten them into a disc that's a little bit bigger than your bun diameter. Refrigerate until needed.

Make the stuffing patties

Peel and finely chop the onion. Sauté gently in plenty of butter until they are soft but not browned. Allow to cool. Mix together the breadcrumbs, pork, sage and onion, and season well with salt and pepper. Mix in the onion and a few tablespoons of cold water. You'll probably need to use your hand to do this. Form the stuffing into discs the same size as the burger patties.

Make the parsnip puree

Top and tail the parsnips and peel them if necessary. Cut into small chunks, place in a pan of water, bring to the boil then simmer until soft - about 10 minutes. Drain and mash the parsnips with a knob of butter, a splash of double cream, salt and white pepper, and 2 tsps of horseradish sauce. If you want an extra-smooth puree, whizz it in a blender.

Make the cranberry relish

In a small saucepan, mix together the sugar and water. Bring it to the boil, but do not stir it! When boiling, add the ginger, cinnamon, and cranberries and turn the heat down to a simmer. After a few minutes, the berries will start to pop. When they've all popped, remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Add some orange zest and stir well. It should set into a kind of jelly.

Make the pickled red cabbage slaw

Place 3 tbsps of pickled red cabbage into a bowl. Grate in the same amount of carrot. Add a teaspoon of finely-chopped spring onion. Mix together, then add enough mayonnaise to coat everything generously.

Make the gravy gel slices

Stir 1 tsp agar agar powder into a saucepan containing 3-4 tablespoons of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Add half a litre of your turkey stock and cook for 5 minutes. Pour enough of the gravy mix into a rimmed baking sheet or traybake container - you want a layer of liquid 3-4 mm thick. It should set in about 10 minutes at room temperature. Cut the gravy jelly into squares and set aside.

Bake the stuffing and sprout leaves

Preheat your oven to 160°C (320°F) for a fan oven, 180°C (356°F) conventional, gas 4. Lightly oil a baking sheet and place your stuffing patties on it. They need to bake for 30 minutes. While they are cooking, strip the grungy outer leaves off some brussels sprouts (and put them in the compost). Peel off as many inner leaves as you can. Spray them with oil and add them to the baking sheet for the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Cook the burger patties and bacon

Heat up a griddle pan until it is smoking. Pop the burgers on, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt, then turn them over and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Salt again. Remove to a warmed plate and tent with foil to rest for 5 minutes. While the burgers are cooking, cut the bacon strips in half and lay them in a single layer on a sheet of kitchen paper. Place another sheet of paper on top, and microwave for 2 minutes. Remove from the paper, and put them on the hot griddle to sear both sides.

Assemble the burger

Split your burger buns in half and briefly place them cut side down on the griddle just to char a little. Smear a tablespoon of parsnip puree on the base bun. Add a turkey pattie with a dollop of pickled red cabbage slaw on top. Add a stuffing pattie and arrange the sprout leaves in a single layer on it. Now we want a slice of gravy gel, and you might want to briefly warm this on the griddle until the edges just start to bubble. Arrange 3-4 pieces of bacon on the gravy slice, and finish off with a generous dollop of cranberry relish, and the bun lid.


The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Christmas Burger on YouTube.

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Ingredients & Info

 400 grams turkey meat
 100 grams pork back fat
 a sprinkling of coarse sea salt
 500 grams minced pork, 20% fat
 300 grams coarse breadcrumbs
 1 medium onion
 25 grams butter
 2 tsp dried sage
 3-4 tbsp water
 210 grams sugar
 125 ml water
 1 tsp ground ginger
 half a tsp ground cinnamon
 300 grams cranberries
 zest of 1 orange
 3 tbsp pickled red cabbage
 1 carrot
 1 spring onion
 4-5 tbsp mayonnaise
 3 parsnips
 2 tsp horseradish sauce
 50 grams butter
 2 tbsp double (heavy) cream
 half a tsp salt
 half a tsp ground white pepper
  bones from 1 turkey leg
 1 large onion
 1 stick celery
 1 carrot
 2 bay leaves
 1 tsp black peppercorns
 2 tsp dried parsley
 2 litres water


Brioche buns are generally reckoned to be the best for burgers. You'll also need 3-4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, and a teaspoon of agar agar powder for the gravy gel (you can buy agar agar online or at some Asian stores).

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 4 burgers
Prep time: 30 minutes.
Stockmaking time: 8 hours.
Cooking time: 30 minutes.
Total time: 1 hour.