Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mediterranean chicken burgers with olives and thyme

Chicken burgers made with dark meat are a complete contrast to those made with breast meat. These are moist and juicy. I like buying organic boneless skinless chicken thighs and making my own burgers. For this version, I added kalamata olives, mushrooms and thyme to give it a little Mediterranean flavor. The addition of kalamata olives gives it a good salty bite and the mushrooms help to keep the burger moist.

Mediterranean chicken burgers with olives and thyme

8 oz ground chicken - dark meat or boneless, skinless thighs
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped onions
6 pitted kalamata olives
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
2 large cremini mushrooms chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 sesame seed burger buns or brioche rolls
Condiments to serve with the burger (optional)

  1. Trim the fat off the thighs and cut into 1 inch pieces. Set aside. Add the kalamata olive, chopped onions, chopped garlic, thyme leaves and cremini mushrooms and pulse till all the ingredients are well mixed. Remove the mixture from the food processor and place in a mixing bowl. Now add the chicken pieces to the food processor and pulse in short bursts till the meat is ground, but not pasty. Remove the ground meat from the food processor and add to the mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix the chicken and the mushroom olive mixture by hand - do not over mix. 
  2. Now form 3 patties around 2 1/2 inches in diameter. 
  3. Preheat a grill pan over medium high heat. Add the patties to the hot grill pan and cook for 5 minutes. Then gently flip the burger with a slotted spoon and cook for 5 more minutes. Cover the burger while cooking the second side. This helps to retain the moisture in the meat and cooks it all the way through.
  4.  Heat the bun on the grill pan. Place the cooked burger on the bun. If you like you can add dijon mustard, mayonnaise, pickles, freshly sliced tomatoes, thinly sliced onions to your assembled burger. I like to serve it with just a little mayo and some bread and butter pickles. 
Serves 3

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Portobello mushrooms stuffed with wild rice,leeks and corn

It was a real treat to have these for dinner tonight. These 6 inch giants were meaty, well seasoned and delicious. The filling was extremely flavorful and topped with some salty cheddar and gooey mozzarella, all you needed was a salad on the side. The perfect vegetarian main course!

Portobello mushrooms stuffed with wild rice, leeks and corn
3 large portobello mushrooms approx 4 -6 inches in diameter
1/2 cup California wild rice
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
1 1/2 cups frozen sweet corn
1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar and shredded mozzarella mixed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups vegetable broth or water with powdered bouillon
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
  2. While the oven preheats, cook the wild rice. Wash the rice well and add it to 2 cups boiling water or broth. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 55 minutes. Drain the excess water and transfer to a mixing bowl. 
  3. Heat an 8" non stick sauté pan over medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chopped leeks with 1/8th teaspoon kosher salt. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes till the leeks soften. Remove from the pan and add it to the cooked and drained wild rice. Boil the corn for a couple of minutes to defrost and drain. Mix the drained corn with the wild rice and leek mixture.
  4. Clean the mushrooms with a moist paper towel and set aside. Grease a large porcelain baking dish with olive oil. If your dish is not large enough to hold all the mushrooms, use two. Place the mushrooms in the baking dish, gill side up. Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon olive oil on each of the mushrooms. Then ladle 1/3 of the wild rice mixture on top, with a pinch of chili flakes. 
  5. Place the baking dish in the middle rack of the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and top each mushroom with 1/2 cup of grated cheese. Cover the baking dish with a foil. Reduce oven temperature to 400 F and place the covered baking dish for 20 more minutes in the middle rack. At the end of the 20 minutes the mushrooms should be cooked and will look like the picture above with a little browning of the cheese.
Serves 3 as a main course with a side salad.