Tuscan Chicken Burgers

It may not seem like it, depending on the weather where you are, but grill season is allegedly here. I for one have been itchy to fire up our grill, seizing the opportunity when it’s remotely sunny and warm, only to find that by the time we actually light the coals, the wind has picked up, the grey clouds have amassed, and a drizzle starts to fall. But such is Seattle– if a little rain deterred us from spending time outside, then there’d be a massive outbreak of cabin fever.

If you’re getting into grill season, here’s an idea to add some variety to your burger grilling menu. I took ground chicken, mixed in cannellini beans, capers, and rosemary, then topped off my burgers with an oven roasted tomato relish and some sautéed greens.

The burgers were juicy with a tang of acid from the capers which went nicely with the sweet tomato relish. The greens added a dash of heat, thanks to being cooked in olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. In fact, I’d say that these burgers are a great solution to rainy or cold day cookouts: they cook quickly then channel the sun with their bright flavors. Here’s hoping the sun comes out soon for a long and happy grill season for all!

Chicken Burgers

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/2 of a 15 oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon small capers
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons Montreal steak seasoning

Tomato Relish

  • 4 large Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated into a paste
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • sugar to taste

Burger Toppings

  • 1 large bunch kale or broccoli rabe, leaves separated from stems, stems discarded, leaves chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 hamburger buns

Start by roasting the tomatoes for the relish. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. On a foil lined baking sheet, mix the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, ground coriander, and fennel seeds. Cook for 2.5-3 hours or until tomatoes are wrinkled around the edges and kind of jammy looking. Remove from oven and allow to cool. While tomatoes roast, add remaining tablespoon of olive oil and butter to a medium skillet and melt over medium low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until onion is caramelized, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, cannellini beans, capers, garlic and rosemary. Mix with your hands, being careful not to over mix then shape into 4 equal patties. Season both sides of each patty with the steak seasoning mix. Cook on a well oiled and cleaned grill over medium high heat for about 5-6 minutes per side or until cooked through. Let rest, tented with foil on a plate for at least 5 minutes before serving.

While burgers cook, make the tomato relish and the sautéed greens topping. For the relish, combine the roasted tomatoes, onions, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and basil in a food processor bowl, fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until tomatoes and onions are finely chopped. Adjust seasoning with sugar, salt and pepper to taste. For the greens, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, letting the garlic perfume the oil, toasting the smashed cloves until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Discard garlic then add chopped greens and saute until wilted, about 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble: place chicken patty on bun, top with tomato relish and a small pile of sautéed greens before topping with other bun half and serve.

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