These burgers are made from boneless, skinless thighs for a more moist and flavorful burger than you would get with white meat. You can grind (or really mince) chicken in a food processor, but you have to be careful not to turn it into a paste. I use the food processor to grind ham, and I might use it for beef, but poultry is so tender and sticky, that you need to be on your toes. A search on the web will show you that freezing the poultry chunks first can help you reach the right grind before it turns into a paste. Luckily, I have a grinding attachment for my stand mixer, so the grinding is really easy and foolproof.
I looked around at what others do to make such burgers and found that some just shape the meat. Some add breadcrumbs both inside and outside the burgers; some just outside. I thought about breading them, as I do my fishcakes, but I was hoping for a more traditional burger this time. I did add a small proportion—1/2 cup per 1 1/2 lbs chicken—of fresh breadcrumbs to the mix, just to make them a little lighter, but not enough to detract from the chicken. Two tablespoons of half and half was the only moisture added, no egg, which actually can toughen a meat mixture and dry it out. I didn’t overdo the flavoring additions, just some chives, salt, and pepper. They turned out flavorful and juicy, browned in a cast iron skillet and served on ciabatta rolls with a quick homemade burger sauce.
Regardless of how you grind the chicken, it will be sticky and hard to form into patties. I placed four mounds of the meat mixture on a sheet of plastic wrap, then placed another sheet over them to do the shaping. then I put them in the fridge for a few hours until time to cook. It helped keep the meat in the patties instead of stuck on my fingers.
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons half and half or milk
oil for browning
- Grind your chicken, unless you purchase it ground at the store.
- Mix all the ingredients, except the oil, lightly.
- Divide into four portions and place them apart on a sheet of plastic wrap.
- Place another sheet of plastic wrap over them, using the wrap to press down and shape the patties. You can refrigerate them at this point if not ready to cook. I cut them apart in the wrap to easier place them on a plate.
- In a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat, heat enough cooking oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. When shimmering, add the patties and cook for about 8 minutes per side, until browned and done in the middle. I used a thermometer to test for about 165°
The quick sauce was a mixture of mayonnaise, A. 1., ketchup, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. I would have added garlic powder if I had any!