Saturday, August 9, 2014

Grilled Chinese Chicken Burgers

My kids have a list of meals they call "The Week of Awesomeness."  It includes Mediterranean Pasta and Root Beer Sloppy Joes.  It also includes this recipe, which I'm finally posting because a friend who had them a few weeks ago has been bugging me to do so.

All of which makes me sound like the world's greatest cook, right?  The irony, though, is that this recipe emerged from a grand mistake:  I found the original version in the newspaper and it included the burgers themselves, a sauce, and a slaw (which I haven't included here, because it's not very good).  
Glancing at the recipe, I dug all of the ingredients out and started mixing, not realizing that I was actually adding components intended for the sauce into the burgers themselves.  

Yeah.  A Ph.D. in English, and I can't even read.  

Anyhow, the result was fantastic.  So that's what I've done ever since.  I've also added a couple things to give the burgers more texture and a bit more flavor.  If your kids don't like cilantro, you can always leave it out, although, frankly, you might want to just get new kids instead.  

One final note:  part of what makes these such a good meal for kids is that a lot of the spice is in the sauce.  That in mind, let the kids test the sauce first to see if they want any.  If they don't, no big deal--that just means more for the grownups.  

Grilled Chinese Chicken Burgers

1 lb ground chicken breast
1 lb ground chicken (if you can't find both ground chicken and chicken breast, use two pounds of whatever you can find)  
2 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP hoisin sauce
1 TBSP sesame oil
1 TBSP sugar
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 TBSP minced lemongrass
2 TBSP minced cilantro
1/3 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped (sometimes I use slightly less)
3/4-1 cup store-bought bread crumbs 
6-8 hamburger buns, toasted (I usually split them and put them on the grill, face down, for 2-3 minutes as the grill is warming up)

3/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1-2 TBSP Thai chili sauce
2TBSP hoisin sauce

  1. Combine the first 12 ingredients (from ground chicken to bread crumbs).  Mix together well, using your hands.  If it's still sticky when well mixed, add another 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs
  2. Fashion into 10-12 patties of moderate thickness.  I like to make them of varying sizes, so that the kids can pick and choose.  (Don't worry about leftovers:  these reheat really well, and are even good cold)
  3. Now mix the sauce, adding the mayonnaise, the lime juice and zest, the chili sauce and the hoisin. 
  4. Heat your grill, toasting the buns for a few minutes just to make them a little crispy.
  5. Grill the burgers, roughly 10-15 minutes, turning frequently.  These cook quickly and throughly, so keep an eye on them.
  6. Serve on the buns, with sauce (if desired). 

Family ratings: 

Will, who will request these by name and mock any of his friends who don't like them:  10
Lucy--really, you have to ask?:  10
Jamie, who's into being contrary:  9
Ellen, who's not much of a meat-eater, but loves these:  10
Paul, who's looking less like a former swimmer and more like a former linebacker:  11