Tag Archives: ground chicken

Pizza Burgers

7 Aug

I feel sorry for people who have food allergies because there are some foods that they can’t enjoy or fully appreciate.  No doritos.  Or cheetos.  Or brie cheese.  NO BRIE CHEESE.  I can’t recreate those in a non-dairy formula no matter how I try.  However, I have found ways to make some foods at home that are pretty good substitutes for the originals – creme brulee, Bette le Mae, ranch dressing, and now – PIZZA BURGERS.  Clearly life without pizza burgers is limited at the very least.

My goals in creating a non-dairy pizza burger were as follows:
– All the greasy goodness of a regular ol’ pizza burger
– Lighter in fat (why not, we’re making it from scratch anyway)
– Melty cheese center
– Flavor sort of like good Italian sausage

To make the pizza burgers a bit lighter, I decided to use a mixture of ground chicken and ground venison instead of beef.  Both of these meats are lower in fat and have really nice texture, so I figured they’d make a really good base for the pizza burger.  The advantage that ground beef has over chicken and venison is that the higher fat content in beef helps the patties stick together better and is a bit juicier.  Taking an old America’s Test Kitchen trick used in meatloaf and meatballs, I decided to add some dissolved gelatin to the meat to help plump it up a  bit.  There’s probably some science behind this, but as it goes with many America’s Test Kitchen tricks, I just take their word for it that it works and then put it to good use.  I also found that with these patties, it was important to form them on a square of waxed paper to make it easier to hold the shape together when I transferred it to the grill.  The patties were easy to make and can be done ahead of time.  In fact, you should plan to let them firm up in the fridge for at least an hour, and can be done further ahead if you’d like.  They take about 5-7 minutes per side to grill.  [Note: I forgot to add pepper to the spice mixture when I made this batch so I threw some pepper in when I formed the patties.  That’s why this picture looks so peppery.]

I added a mixture of tomatoes, herbs, and a touch of spaghetti sauce to the top of my pizza burger – it was delicious.  For an authentic pizza burger experience, serve with ketchup and a side of fries.

Be sure to let the pizza burgers sit for a few minutes after you remove them from the grill.  Otherwise, the cheese is too hot and oozes all over the place.  I like to cut the burger in half before eating so the cheese can start to ooze just a bit.  Otherwise you run the risk of taking a bite and having the cheese slap you in the chin.  No one likes to get cheese slapped.

Pizza Burgers
Serves: 6
Serving Size:  One 1/3 lb. burger

1 lb. ground chicken
1 lb. ground venison
1 t. gelatin
2 T. cold water
1 T. red wine vinegar
2 t. crushed garlic
2 t. kosher salt
2 t. fennel seeds
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
½ t. smoked paprika
3 oz. non-dairy mozzarella, thinly sliced, cut into squares
¼ c. fresh herbs (mixture of basil, oregano, chives, thyme)
½ c. spaghetti sauce
1 T. olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
6 hamburger buns

In a large bowl, mix together ground chicken and ground venison.  Combine by hand until everything is well blended.

In a bowl, combine gelatin and water until the gelatin dissolves.  Pour gelatin mixture into a food processor; add vinegar, garlic, salt, fennel, black pepper, and paprika.  Pulse until everything is mixed and the garlic and fennel are in small bits.  Add spice mixture to the ground meat, mix by hand until everything is evenly coated. 

Cut six squares of waxed paper, about 6” in size – these will be used to flatten each patty and makes getting them to the grill much easier.   Divide the meat into six even portions.  Take one portion and form it into a ball.  Divide it in half, place it on a square of waxed paper, and flatten it until it is about the diameter of a softball.  Place four squares of cheese in the center.  Flatten the other half of the ball into a patty and place it on top of the cheese.  Press the sides together to form a seal.  Repeat with the remaining patties, then refrigerate for at least one hour.

In a bowl, combine the herbs, spaghetti sauce, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.

Over medium-high heat, grill the patties (waxed paper removed) for about 5-7 minutes a side, moving to a cooler part of the grill if the cheese starts to escape.  Remove from grill, cover, and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Serve each pizza burger on a bun with a scoop of the herbed sauce topping. 

Estimated Calories:  473 cal/serving

– You can use low-moisture part skim dairy mozzarella in place on the non-dairy kind.  I tried it, and it was awesome.
– If you don’t have a freezer filled with ground venison like I do, you could use the lowest fat ratio ground beef in its place.
– If you do have a freezer filled with ground venison like I do, better use it up, hunting season is right around the corner.
– I made the buns for this recipe, and while they were tasty, they were super tall.  I recommend using the flattest bun you can find to make eating a bit easier.
– As with all poultry, it is very important to bring chicken to 165 degrees F in order to ensure that it is at the temperature required to eliminiate the risk of bacteria.  The only way to be SURE it is at the right temperature is to use a meat thermometer.  With a pizza burger, once you poke a hole in it the cheese has a place to escape.  After you remove the burger from the grill and let it rest a bit, test it with the thermometer.  If it is not at the safe temperature, microwave it a bit until it reaches the desired temp. 

Print it: Pizza Burgers

Chicken Kofte Kabobs with Creamy Cucumber Sauce

19 Jul

A few years ago I received a Turkish cookbook from my college roommate’s mother.  Knowing how much I loved cooking, she thought I would enjoy learning more about Turkish foods and how to prepare them.  She was right, but I didn’t count on the learning curve.  There were two main things that gave me trouble: 1) everything in the cookbook was in grams so it required math every time I planned a meal (note: math is not hard, but dude, still math), and 2) there were a lot of ingredients I could not readily identify.  One ingredient that gave me a lot of trouble is one called Kofte Spice.  It isn’t found on American grocery store shelves, and I couldn’t find any definitive info on the Internet.  That left me with one (and really, really good) solution – email Mrs. Bulut for more information. 

Through a series of emails she explained to me that Kofte Spice would vary in content based on the region in which it is used.  In Turkey, it consists of a mixture of dried herbs and spices – mint, oregano, parsley, salt, cumin, pepper, coriander, ground cloves, and nutmeg.  We discussed the proportions of each herb and spice to create the blend that would be most like the kind used in Turkish cooking.  We landed on a combination that was flavorful and delicious.

So last week, when I picked up a package of Gold’n Plump Ground Chicken, I decided to give this recipe another try.  Different than traditional Turkish Kofte (uses lamb or beef, and is formed into football-like shapes and pan-fried), I decided to make a few changes and good use of the abundance of herbs growing in my garden.  The resulting recipe was delicious – and like many State Fair foods have proven, kids will eat anything that is served on a stick.  This recipe was light and flavorful, and meal prep was shortened by making most of it a day ahead and doing the final cooking at dinnertime.

Chicken Kofte Kabobs with Creamy Cucumber Sauce
Serves: 4
Serving Size:  Two skewers, ¼ cucumber, ½ Roma tomato, big scoop of sauce

1 lb. ground chicken
2 T. fresh oregano, finely chopped
2 T. parsley, finely chopped
1 T. fresh mint, finely chopped
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. cumin
20 turns freshly ground black pepper
1/8 t. coriander
1/8 t. ground cloves

3/4 c. Greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
2 T. fresh mint, finely chopped
2 T. chives, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 t. kosher salt

1 cucumber, sliced
2 Roma tomatoes, halved and sliced

Combine chicken, oregano, parsley, and mint until well mixed.   In a separate bowl, combine salt through cloves.  Add to chicken mixture and mix until fully incorporated.  Place in refrigerator for at least an hour, up to one day ahead.  One hour before cooking time, soak 8 bamboo skewers in water.  Then, when ready, preheat oven to 350° F.  Just before cooking, spray broiler pan with cooking spray.  Divide chicken mixture into eight portions and roll into an oblong shape, then place on skewer.  Add all the kabobs to the broiler pan and cook for 25 minutes, turning once.  Remove and let cool a minute before serving.

Mix together all of the sauce ingredients and refrigerate for at least an hour, and up to 24 hours ahead. Place on a plate with sliced sides and add two chicken kabobs to each plate.

• This meal was pretty light. Next time, I might add a pita and some lettuce to the meal – either all tucked inside the pita, or served on a plate.
• To make this non-dairy, substitute non-dairy sour cream for Greek yogurt.

Estimated Calories:  257 cal/serving

Print it: Chicken Kofte Kabobs with Creamy Cucumber Sauce