home cooked dinners by the season

Summertime Chicken Burgers

Summertime Chicken Burgers

IMG_2179Right now is perhaps my favorite time of year. The light beginning early in the morning and extending well beyond what’s typical, is reason enough to feel happy about what’s to come now that summer has officially arrived. It’s also reason to be eating more of what motivates me to cook. And that’s a no brainer. Recipes with a short list of seasonal ingredients and a fast cooking method to match.

I was looking for something that had the flavor to make a burger memorable. I’m not sure which inspired me more with this recipe, a new look on a chicken burger or a way to get a brioche bun into my mouth. I’m not eating beef burgers much anymore and as much as I like grilled chicken breast between buns, they have a tendency to overcooking.

The key is ground chicken thigh meat. It’s flavorful and tends to be moist when cooked, the most important criteria for a great burger. I chose chopped fresh cilantro, garlic, green onions and ground cumin for the short list of ingredients for maximum flavor enhancement. Be sure to wet your hands when forming the burger, as the wetness of the ground chicken tends to make it stick to your hands. Placing the formed burgers on pieces of wax paper or foil make it easy to turn them out onto the heated grill and to store in the refrigerator if making them ahead.

“Protein-style” will appeal to anyone wanting to avoid a bun. It just means putting the cooked chicken burger between two pieces of cleaned lettuce. Currently popular for the many people avoiding gluten.

*I am finding more grocery stores carry ground chicken thigh in a package in the meat case. If you can’t find it, it’s easy to put the boneless, skinless chicken thighs in your food processor at home and hit pulse several times.



Summertime Chicken Burgers
Serves: 4 to 5
  • 1-1/2 pound ground chicken thigh meat
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ - ⅓ cup chopped green onion or shallot
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Thoroughly mix all ingredients together.
  2. Cut wax paper or foil into about 7-inch diameter squares. Wet hands lightly with water, then form chicken mixture into 4 to 5 patties about ¾ inch thick each. Lay each patty onto one of the pieces of wax paper (this makes it easier to transfer patties onto the heated grill to cook). Patties can be prepared to this point, covered and refrigerated several hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat grill to medium heat (a raised grill pan on a stove can also be used). Lightly coat the grill with vegetable oil. Transfer patties to the grill by picking up the wax paper side and turning them onto the grill; discarding paper. Cook burgers until half way cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes, then flip and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes longer.
  4. Serve cooked chicken burgers on a toasted brioche bun or “protein-style” between two lettuce leaves.

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