Ron Swanson’s approach to hamburgers is simple: “Add ketchup if you want; I couldn’t care less.” When Parks and Rec‘s Chris Traeger and Ron go head-to-head in a burger cook-off, the theme of the battle is tradition versus trend. As Chris prepares an incredibly intricate “east-meets-west” Asian fusion turkey burger, Ron creates a simple hamburger on a bun.
No cheese. It’s served, as he puts it, “with nothing.” Shockingly, Ron’s simple, traditional burger beats out Chris’s. Alas, here’s how to make Ron Swanson’s winning burger cook-off burger.
Oliver Babish‘s YouTube series called Binging with Babish takes popular television foods and turns them into real recipes. On this particular episode, he spends the majority of his time creating Chris Traeger’s organic turkey burger on a gluten-free brioche bun. Here’s how he starts.
First, he halves an eggplant length-wise. He then pours olive oil over it and hits it with a little salt and pepper. After scoring it, he bakes it at 400 for 30 to 40 minutes.
Next is the papaya chutney. The papaya is peeled, scraped, and sliced into one-inch chunks. Those chunks are added to a small sauce pan with 1/3 of a cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/3 of a cup of golden raisins, salt, pepper, and saffron threads.
Four egg yolks, two squeezes of lemon, 1/4 of a cup of black truffle oil, and one cup of canola oil are blended into a thick aioli.
Taleggio cheese crisp is made next, but Oliver replaces Taleggio with fontina. Two mounds of shredded fontina are crisped in the oven and set aside while preparing the turkey.
Oliver butchers his own turkey breast. He cuts a three-pound breast into pieces and freezes the pieces for 15 minutes. The slightly frozen turkey and roasted eggplant are dumped into a food processor and pulsed until half of the desired consistency is reached.
At this point, anchovy paste, Marmite, and soy sauce are added. The pulsing continues. Grab your brioche buns, put micro greens and aioli on them. Add the cooked turkey-eggplant mixture, and don’t forget the fontina cheese crisp.
If you follow the recipe from the video, Oliver swears it will produce the best turkey burger you’ve ever tasted. As Aziz Ansari’s character Tom exclaims, “It tastes the way Beyoncé smells!”
Oliver also makes a plain-old beef burger on a bun Ron Swanson-style. Just like the Parks Department, he too feels it’s far superior to the elaborate turkey creation. It just goes to show that Ron was right. “Turkey can never beat cow.”