Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Secret to Moist Burgers

Continuing on the quest to lower triglyceride levels, Mr Minx and I picked up some ground chicken at the supermarket as a substitute for ground beef. I was in the mood for burgers. Maybe not chicken burgers, but hey, how bad could they be?

I wasn't going to find out.

A few days later, I came home from work to find Mr Minx had ground up some chia seeds with a mortar and pestle and was soaking them in water. His intention was to mix them with the ground chicken to add moisture to the burgers. And I, Miss Know-It-All, thought he was going about it the wrong way, that he should have merely added the dry seeds to the chicken. But I let him do his thing, first draining out the few drops of water that didn't get completely absorbed by the now-swollen particles of chia. As he combined the chicken and chia, he decided that the mixture was a bit too soft, so I sprinkled in about a tablespoon of dry bread crumbs.

The result? The moistest burgers I've ever eaten, seriously! with a hint of garlic/onion flavor. We ate them on whole grain bread with a bit of mayonnaise and some sautéed onions, and they were just terrific. So much so that I had to try them again the next week, this time using the dreaded ground turkey.

They turned out just as well.

I fancied them up a bit by doing a riff on Buffalo wings, adding hot sauce to the onions and some bleu cheese sauce on top. Oh, and served them on Thomas' 12 Grain English Muffins.

Moist Poultry Burgers, Buffalo-style

2 teaspoons chia seeds
1/4 cup water
2 lbs ground chicken or turkey
dashes of garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika
plain dry bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Grind the chia seeds to a powder with a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Soak the powder in the water for at least an hour. When ready to use, sieve the excess water from the seeds. Do not push on the seeds in the sieve - you only want to remove the excess, which may well be only a teaspoonful or so - it's important to keep the jelly-like consistency.

Mix the chia seeds with the ground chicken or turkey, making sure there are no obvious blobs of seeds. Season with smoked paprika and garlic and onion powders. If the mixture seems too moist, add some dry bread crumbs, a teaspoonful at a time. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Form 6 patties with the meat. Heat a saute pan and add 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil. Cook patties over medium heat about 10 minutes, turning once halfway through. Serve with spicy onions and bleu cheese dressing.

Spicy Onions

1/2 cup sliced onion
olive oil
salt
3 tablespoons Frank's Red Hot sauce

Saute onion in a bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt until soft and beginning to brown. Stir in hot sauce.
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You want proof of moistness? Check out the juicy droplets on my plate.

I dare say this technique would also work to add much-needed moisture to extra lean beef burgers, particularly for those folks (like my Dad) who insist on eating their meat well-done. And meatballs!

Posted by theminx on Minxeats.com.