Chicken Parmesan Burger

Do you get the idea we like burgers around here?  Well, you would be right.  And I think this is one of our yummiest yet.  It's a play on chicken parmesan, which is an iconic Italian-American favorite .  The recipe comes from Bon Appetit magazine, and I think they had a very good idea indeed.  

The idea is to take ground chicken (or you can use turkey) and mix it with breadcrumbs, marinara sauce, parmesan cheese and other tasty ingredients, and after forming the patties, you dip them in a coating of the breadcrumb/ parmesan mixture before sauteeing in a little olive oil.  This forms a very tasty crust which truly is reminiscent of traditional chicken parmesan.  Said "burger" is then sandwiched between lightly toasted, fresh slices of a french baguette and layered with fresh mozarella cheese, more marinara sauce and fresh basil leaves.  The original recipe called for raddichio, but I didn't think it needed it. Of course, you can add it if you like.  My daughter also had the brilliant idea to make garlic bread out of those baguette slices before assembling the burger and I can't wait to try that next time.

The thing that I think is going to make or break this dish is the quality of the ground meat.  I used ground turkey, which I think has more flavor than ground chicken, but how the meat is ground is also going to make all the difference in your burger.  I have been so unhappy with some of the ground meat I've gotten lately, that I've started to grind my own.  I use the meat grinder attachment to my Kitchen Aid mixer and it really is a snap to grind and know exactly what you're getting in the final product.  I'm finding that chicken thighs ground together with turkey tenderloins (more thigh than tenderloins) make a very tasty blend.  Some meats are ground so that they're just mush which does not make a good burger.

But this is a really good burger, folks.  If you like chicken parmesan (and who doesn't?), this is going to make you very happy.

Chicken Parmesan Burger

For a printable recipe, click here

Serves 4

10 ½-inch-thick French bread slices, toast 8 slices, remove the crust and dice the 2 remaining slices

½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil, plus 12 large leaves

¾ cup marinara sauce

1 lb ground chicken (or turkey)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon grated onion

¼ teaspoon salt

4 slices whole milk mozzarella

4 large radicchio leaves (optional)

Place the Parmesan cheese and diced bread into the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until the mixture is in fine crumbs.  Reserve ½ cup of the Parmesan mixture and transfer the remaining mixture to a pie plate.

Mix the marinara and the chopped basil in a small saucepan.  Remove 2 tablespoons of the marinara and place in a large bowl.  Heat the marinara in the saucepan on low, stirring occasionally.   Add the ground chicken to the bowl with the 2 tablespoons of marinara, and mix in the ½ cup of reserved Parmesan mixture, the onion, salt and the ½ tablespoon of olive oil.  Mix until just combined and form into patties.  Dredge the patties in the Parmesan mixture.

Heat the 1½ tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet.  When the oil is hot, add the patties.  Cook the patties until the bottoms are golden brown and have developed a crust, about 4 minutes.  Turn the patties over, top with cheese and cook for another 3 minutes.  Cover and cook for 1 minute or until the cheese is melted.

To assemble the sandwiches, place 1 slice of radicchio (if using) and 3 slices of basil on a slice of toasted bread.  Add a chicken patty and top with marinara and the second slice of bread.