Not Just for Christmas

Hi chilli fans!

I’m back again, from the smokey, fiery depths of the Wiltshire Chilli Kitchen, to bring you my latest exciting creation. This one is a little bit playful but mostly based around a few traditions that I’m rather keen on. Before we dive in to a recipe, though, I’d like to chat a little about what inspired this dish, my very own turkey habanero burgers.

Firstly, let me be very clear – I love a burger. I mean I really love them. I mean, if I am found Elvis-style, as I leave this green globe, it will probably come to the surprise of exactly zero people. With that in mind, if you’re anything like me, or even half as enthusiastic as I am about burgers, this one is definitely for you.

Of course, I didn’t want to stick too closely to tradition, but that was not just for the sake of creativity. Beef, served in burger form is delicious – you’ll get no argument from me. It’s also a very bolshy, robust flavour though, which doesn’t quite lend itself to the delicate intricacies of a nice chilli sauce. I like to explore ways that chilli can be layered into a complex, interesting and yet comfortable sensory landscape – the last thing I wanted was for my lovely Wiltshire Chilli Farm sauces to be competing with the patty and not getting their rightly deserved place in the spotlight.

So what is a chef to do? “What do I use?” I thought. Then it struck me. Turkey.

Here in England we produce some of the finest turkeys in the world. Norfolk turkey is an absolute gem of a beast and is truly a delicious, complex and incredibly easy meat to work with. Because of our woeful underuse of these beautiful birds though, they’re also dirt cheap all year round, except Christmas. “Why oh why?” I cry “Do we not use these gorgeous animals more!?” That is something I would like to change. Turkey it is…and there won’t be a spot of cranberry sauce in sight.

The next question is what do we pair with our turkey? I really like the idea of a light Tex-Mex inspired flavour profile. The Wiltshire Chilli Farm happen to produce some absolutely stunning Habanero-based products, so this works out nicely. The obvious combination of lime and coriander makes a ton of sense, so that was immediately added to the idea bubble, straight after turkey and habanero.

The final thing to address was those pesky moistness issues, that people so often use as an excuse for turning their noses up at a lovely bit of turkey. I couldn’t go giving people confirmation on the scandalous rumours that turkey is an inherently dry meat, so I wanted to make sure these burgers were juicy. I ended up settling on pork fat. In this case I used lard in the patty and I used some nice streaky bacon, the rendered fat from which coats the burgers wonderfully, with a salty, rich sheen of loveliness. Equally though, speck (smoked pork fat) would be a gorgeous replacement for the lard and my only reason for its non-inclusion was that I wanted to keep the budget for the dish fairly sensible.

The final pieces were fairly obvious. I wanted a nice soft, buttery, sweet bun – so I opted for a Heston Blumenthal brioche bun, from Waitrose. I also wanted a couple of different cheeses. A good, salty, poky one and a nice melty, stringy one. Monterey Jack and Mozzarella answered the call and performed their duties admirably. Finally, the salad component, where things may get a little controversial and I may have to ask for another leap of faith. I really, really dislike raw onion and raw tomato in a burger. Adding wateriness and that spiky onion flavour to something so delicate and balanced feels like utter nonsense to me. Crisp, sweet baby gem lettuce is all I wanted, and I’m more than happy with that.

Now then, enough romance, lets cook! Feast your eyes on this!


Turkey Habanero Burgers (serves 2)


  • 400g English turkey mince
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon powdered coriander seed
  • 50g lard, grated (must be very cold)
  • 2 tablespoons Wiltshire Chilli Farm Habanero sauce
  • Salt and pepper


  • 6 rashers of crispy bacon (I like smoked streaky)
  • 2 Heston Blumenthal brioche buns, toasted
  • 1 baby gem lettuce, hard stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons Wiltshire Chilli Farm Habanero Gold jam
  • 1 ball of mozzarella, cut in half
  • 4 slices of Monterey Jack (this comes pre-sliced, annoyingly in packs of 5)


First off, pre-heat a large frying pan, with a touch of oil, or better still a griddle pan or barbecue.

Combine all of the patty ingredients in a mixing bowl and squash the mixture together, to thoroughly combine everything. Season well and separate a small piece, cooking it off to check the seasoning. Adjust if necessary. Form the patty mixture into 4 equal patties and pat them thin, between two pieces of greaseproof paper. I like my patties around 5mm thick, like a classic, American fast-food burger. The mixture will be very sticky, so they will want to collapse and break and generally give you a hard time – wrestle them into submission, it’s worth it!

Cook the patties until almost done, giving each side 4 or 5 minutes.

Next remove the patties from the heat and transfer to a baking tray. Place a piece of Monterey Jack on one and the bacon, then place the other patty on top. Next, place another piece of Jack on the second patty and finally, the mozzarella. Transfer your stacked patties to a medium oven for 5 or 6 minutes, to let the cheese turn all gooey and delicious.

Next the buns – once split and toasted, smear each half with Habanero Gold and layer up some gem lettuce on the bottom half. Take your finished patties out of the oven and load one stack into each bun. You’re almost ready now, so take a second to stand back and bask in the glory of what you’ve just made. Feel good? Good. Let’s carry on.

For serving, I would ideally want to pair this with a mango lassi, or a chocolate milkshake, but if you want alcohol, go bourbon – an Old Fashioned would go great with those zesty citrus flavours. On the side, I don’t think you could beat some sweet potato fries and some lime-spiked mayo. Enjoy!

Get in touch on twitter (@mrshy85) and let me know how you liked this recipe. I’m always keen to hear about people’s adventures with chilli and the guys at the farm love a good kitchen story!

Thanks for reading






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