Stonehill Tavern’s Scrumptious Holiday Burger – It Has It All

Chefs, Restaurants, Videos By Dec 14, 2013

Raj Dixit, executive chef at Stonehill Tavern at the St. Regis Monarch Beach, makes a  scrumptious holiday-themed turkey burger. It captures the bright flavors of a traditional holiday turkey menu: turkey, gravy, crisp apple salad, cranberry marmalade and a sweet potato bun.


Dixit grew up in Mission Viejo, about a ten-minute drive from where he works. A Culinary Institute of America graduate, Dixit studied and worked in kitchens in France, Spain and Japan before cooking in in some of New York City’s most prestigious restaurants.

Watch Chef Dixit make it happen in this short video!


I dream of his whole-fried Jidori chicken served with long beans and truffled mac and cheese. And his masterfully cooked Kurobuta pork belly and bone-in chop served with perfect spaetzle. But his seasonal burger  is the source of new longing.


The home cook may prefer to take some shortcuts. Prepared whole cranberry sauce could substitute for his made-from-scratch version. Store-bought potato buns could replace his made-in-house sweet potato pan au lait buns. Leftover turkey gravy or, heaven forbid, prepared turkey gravy, could be swapped for freshly made.

Dixit freshly grinds the turkey he uses, generally a Bourbon Red heritage bird. He combines 50 percent dark meat and 50 perfect white, so when buying ground turkey at the supermarket, don’t opt for the extra lean.

Stonehill Tavern’s Holiday-Themed Turkey Burger
Yield: 4 burgers
Cranberry Marmalade Spread
1/2 cup whole fresh cranberries
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick
2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups turkey stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth, boiled down to 1 1/2 cups
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 small white onion, finely diced
1 small parsnip, peeled, finely diced
1 small celery stalk, finely diced
3 medium-sized garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds ground turkey, not extra lean
1/2 cup finely diced apricots
About 4 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
3/4 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Apple Salad:
2 heads Little Gem lettuce or small hearts of romaine, cut into thin strips on diagonal
1 apple, Pink Lady or Fuji, unpeeled, cut into matchsticks (julienne)
1/2 cup very thinly sliced white onion
Vinaigrette: 1/2 cup cider vinegar mixed with 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, salt to taste
4 buns, brioche or pretzel (or potato roll), toasted
1. Prepare marmalade: Place all marmalade ingredients in heavy-bottomed medium saucepan; bring to boil. Lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer for 35 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool; remove cinnamon stick. Puree if desired in food processor.
2. Prepare gravy: In a medium saucepan on medium heat, combine butter and flour. Whisking frequently, cook mixture 1 minute. Whisk in stock. Bring to boil, whisking constantly on medium-high heat, until mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper; set aside to cool.
3. Prepare patties: In medium skillet, heat oil on medium-high heat; add onion, parsnip and celery. Cook until softened, reducing heat if necessary. Stir in garlic; cook until softened, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat. If preparing patties ahead, cool mixture completely.  Preheat barbecue. In large bowl combine vegetable mixture, ground turkey, 1/4 cup cool gravy, apricots, panko, sage and parsley. Gently form into 4 patties.
4. Grill patties: Chef Dixit uses a hot cast iron skillet with a little vegetable oil that heats on the grill, but he says that patties can be grilled directly on a clean, oiled grate. Cook on both sides until cooked through.
5. Prepare salad: Place lettuce, apples and onion in bowl. Drizzle enough vinaigrette to lightly coat leaves around side of bowl; toss. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
6. Assemble: Slather bottom of toasted bun with cranberry marmalade. Top with burger. Top with apple salad and top bun.
Source: Raj Dixit, executive chef Stonehill Tavern, St. Regis Monarch Beach, Dana Point


A quick tip from Melissa’s …


Here’s a delicious passed appetizer that is quick-to-prepare!

Shots of cold cucumber soup.


Chilled soup: In blender combine 1 peeled and sliced hothouse cucumber or 2 peeled, seeded and sliced common cucumbers, 2 1/4 cups honeydew melon chunks, 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice, 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint and 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt. Cover and whirl until smooth. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

From: “Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce” by Cathy Thomas (Wiley, $29.95, available at

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