The weather was decent enough to cook out a couple of nights this week. Grilled burgers are one of the things I'll miss most when the deck and the grill are buried in snow so I jumped at the chance to make one last batch. The freezer yielded a couple of pounds of ground chicken, and the fridge a big box of organic baby spinach. Indian flavors are my current obsession so I made these Curried Chicken Burgers with Chutney Mayo. My Spinach Salad with Curried Almonds complimented the burgers perfectly. I was pretty sure it would be a good dinner -- the surprise was that it was an absolutely great one. I've eaten the leftovers for lunch for the past two days and would happily have them again tomorrow!
Curry and chutney are both ingredients that, when listed in a recipe without any specifics, make me a little nervous. The flavors of various brands can vary tremendously for both. Curry paste, which I used in the burgers, has a much more intense flavor than curry powder. Some curries are super spicy. Others don't have much oomph at all. Curry powder is a blend of spices that typically includes coriander, tumeric, cumin, fenugreek and red pepper. It may also include ginger, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, carraway, cardamon, black pepper and fennel seed as well as other spices. Some day I'd love to play around and develop a signature curry powder. In the meantime, I've tried a variety of brands, looking for the right combination. The one I used in the chutney mayonnaise is one of my favorites -- Frontier Indian Curry. It has lots of flavor without a lot of heat. The first ingredient is tumeric which colors the curry powder a gorgeous yellow, followed by coriander, cumin and lemon peel.
Chutneys can also include a variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices, and can be either spicy or sweet. In my pantry, I have tomato chutney, spicy plum chutney and Major Grey's. For the mayonnaise, I used the Major Grey's, a sweet mango-based chutney reportedly created by a British Army officer with the same name, in Colonial India. It is reasonably-priced and relatively easy to find.
Curried Chicken Burgers with Chutney Mayo
For the Chutney Mayo:
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup minced Major Grey chutney
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For the Curried Chicken Burgers:
- 2 pounds ground chicken
- 1/2 cup grated onion
- 1/2 cup grated apple
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon curry paste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- 8 whole wheat buns
Toppings (choose one):
- 2 cups shredded lettuce
- 16 thin slices of apple
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, chutney, curry powder and pepper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, gently combine the chicken, onion, apple, ginger, curry paste, salt, pepper, mayonnaise and bread crumbs. Do not overwork the meat.
- Form into chicken mixture into 8 patties, about 3/4 inch thick, placing the patties on a baking sheet.
- Cover the patties with plastic wrap and refrigerate the patties for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat a gas grill on high.
- Clean the grill well and spray the grate thoroughly with cooking spray.
- Gently place the chicken patties on the grill. Sear on one side, grilling for 5-7 minutes with the top open and the grill on high. Then flip the burger and grill the other side for 5-7 minutes. Note: if you try to flip the burger before the first side is seared, you will have a mess!
- When the burgers have about 2 minutes to go, put the buns on the grill to warm.
- Put the burgers together with the 1/2 tablespoon of the chutney mayo on each of the bun halves. Top each of the bottom buns with a chicken burger, then either 1/4 cup of lettuce or 2 apple slices, and a top bun.
Yield: 8 burgers
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes