Wednesday, 11 July 2007
Ice Age 3
I had a big clear out of the freezer over the weekend. It is something I've got into the habit of doing in this past year of moving around. The amount of times I have discovered a Tupperware bowl filled with something unrecognisable with no date on, and it is so frustrating when I do. So I also label when I freeze and on the label goes the date as well as the item. All of this means for less waste and less build up of ice.
I don't know about you, but if I ever freeze meat portions, I always separate into different bags. Then you don't get a huge meaty ice block that takes forever to defrost. I must have made a mistake on this occasion as there, at the back of the freezer like some sad forgotten relic, was a huge chicken ice block. After defrosting I discovered 4 chicken breasts clumped together. With time and tiredness against me on Monday evening, I decided to make something I have never ever made before - chicken burgers.
Chicken burgers are not something that have ever made my gastronomic juices flow. They remind me of a particular cheap and nasty burger chain. But I thought, if I have some good free range chicken and I am in control of what goes in there, I could make something delicious. Could I? Experiment time began.
Into the food processor went the chicken. I always have a bag of breadcrumbs in the freezer made from left over stale bread, so a large handful of breadcrumbs and an egg went in. When using meat containing fat such as beef or lamb, I often omit this binding process but the lean chicken meat needed it. A handful of fresh basil were torn and thrown in along with a good splash of Worcestershire Sauce and a grating of Parmesan cheese. The zest and juice of a lemon would spark some much needed zing to the flavour, and a few splashes of Tabasco the much needed bite. A little olive oil and seasoning finished off the 'anything goes' mentality I was dangerously developing, then a few pulses of the blender combined everything neatly. With floured hands, I formed little patties and fried them off to crispy perfection in some rapeseed oil.
The result was a huge surprise. Packed into toasted wholemeal buns with a little mustard mayonnaise and salad, these delicious and moist burgers were packed full of flavour with the added bonus of being extremely healthy. We all loved them and decided that we would do them more often. I can safely say I have never been so pleasantly surprised by something I have created. I'm aware that this isn't the height of culinary experience, but when you have a family to feed and a chicken ice block hanging around, why not? Get pulsing.
Makes 6 large burgers
4 chicken breasts
A large handful of breadcrumbs
1 whole egg
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
A handful of fresh basil
A splash of Tabasco sauce
A good grating of Parmesan cheese
A few splashes of Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 - In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients on the pulse setting so that you have a well combined burger mix.
2 - With floured hands, form patties, then brown off in rapeseed or olive oil in a non-stick frying pan.
3 - Serve in toasted buns with salad and your choice of condiments.