A modern version of a patty melt, Turkey Patty Melt Panini is made with lean ground turkey with creamy brie and zesty sweet peony jelly or red pepper jelly. Pressing the sandwich in a panini press or between 2 hot pans gives the exterior a golden crust.
The concept of the Turkey Patty Melt Panini all started with a little jar of peony jelly. My last CSA share in the fall included a really interesting creation from Sarah who had made some unique preserves using edible flowers. I know you’re thinking “I don’t have peony jelly,” but red pepper jelly would be a perfect substitute.Jump to Recipe
I was driving down the road with Mr. H and talking about food as usual. He usually smiles politely and half listens when I go on and on but this time something must have caught his attention because he said, “That’s a patty melt. My mom used to make them.” He goes on to describe how she put beef patties on bread with cheese and sautéed onion and grilled them. My beef about burgers is they’re usually too thick to bite. (Did you get that pun? Beef? Burgers?) Especially if you have a serious bun and lots of toppings. So I decided to use the panini grill. Not only will it squash your sandwich to a biteable size, it will also give it a crusty exterior and help melt the Brie.
I love my panini press. But you can still accomplish the same thing if you don’t have one, just heat a second heavy pan and press it on top. The grill marks are nice but you’ll forget about them when you take your first juicy cheesy bite of a Turkey Patty Melt Panini.
Ground turkey has less fat than beef so it’s a bit healthier. But that also means it needs some help in the juicy and tasty department. No need to go crazy with ingredients, I find it’s best to keep it simple. A pound of ground turkey makes 4 perfect sized patties. I added mayo and Dijon for fat and flavour as well as Worcestershire, dried thyme (because my herb garden isn’t planted yet) salt and pepper and a small amount of bread crumbs that I softened in a bit of milk.
Mix it all together. Gently. Ground turkey is quite soft and delicate. Divide the meat into 4 equal amounts and shape into patties. You can do this while the onions are cooking. The patties will be softer than beef patties so use plastic wrap or parchment to shape them. Make them slightly larger in diameter than your bun and not too thick. They will shrink but not too much.
Slice your onion thinly and sauté in a bit of olive oil on medium-low heat until they’re just starting to brown. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and sauté another few minutes. Remove them from the pan and use the same pan to cook the turkey patties. You’ll need to add a touch more olive oil and turn the heat up to medium-high. Using the same pan is great because you’ll get extra flavour in the patties and you’ll have one less pan to wash. And, if you don’t have a panini press and are grilling your sandwiches in a pan, use this one. But give it a wipe first.
Gently place the patties in the hot pan, cooking one or two at a time depending on space. If you like, move the cooked patties to a preheated oven while you cook the rest. Since they’re delicate, don’t mess with them too much and definitely don’t press down on them. That just presses out the juice. Once the patty is well browned and you can see from the edges that they’re cooked about half way to the centre, flip them to cook the other side.
The best kind of buns for Turkey Patty Melt Paninis are a denser type. Ciabatta are great. These guys are on Portuguese buns which are the perfect size and density. And, they don’t need to be super fresh so day olds are great! Slice them in half and butter generously. Spread the jelly on the bottom bun and brush the crust with a bit of olive oil. Place onto the preheated panini press. Heat the press to about medium, you don’t want it smoking hot for these.
Lay the turkey patties on top of the bun, then top with the onion mixture and slices of Brie. Don’t be shy with the cheese! Brush the crust of the top bun with a bit of olive oil and place on top.
Close the grill slightly and apply a bit of pressure. You’ll need to hold the sandwich in place at first or it will slide out! Especially if you press too hard. A wooden spoon works great to hold them in place.
Then you can slowly press it down a bit more but don’t compress it too much or you’ll lose most of the Brie. It’s ready when the cheese starts to ooze out and you have nice grill marks. If your Panini press is large enough you can grill two buns at the same time.
Here’s the recipe:
Turkey Patty Melt Panini
- Panini Grill
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 Tbsp breadcrumbs
- 1 Tbsp milk
- 1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp mayonnaise real mayo, not Miracle whip
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves or 2 tsp fresh
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 dense buns such as Ciabatta or Portuguese buns
- 4 tsp butter
- 1 wheel or wedge of good quality Brie 2-3 slices per sandwich
- 4 tsp hot pepper jelly
- 2 Tbsp olive oil for cooking patties and brushing buns
- Combine bread crumbs, milk and Worcestershire. Let sit for at least 5 minutes to allow breadcrumbs to soak up liquid.
- Add remaining ingredients for turkey patties. Mix to combine. Divide meat into 4 equal portions and shape into patties using plastic wrap or parchment. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
- Slice onion into thin half circles. Sauté on medium-low heat in olive oil until softened and starting to caramelize. Add balsamic vinegar and cook a few more minutes. Remove from pan.
- Add a small spoonful of olive oil to pan and increase heat to medium-high. Cook turkey patties, one or two at a time until well browned, being careful not to move around much, otherwise they may break apart. Rest in a preheated oven until all patties are cooked.
- Preheat panini grill to medium. Butter inside of all buns. Brush olive oil on bottom bun crusts and spread pepper jelly evenly. Place on preheated grill. Top with turkey patties, onion mixture and brie. Top with buns that have been brushed with remaining olive oil.
- Grill until buns are golden and cheese is melted. Press gently but not too much, to ensure sandwich fillings don't press out.
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