The AFBA challenge this month is “berries”, and since I shorted you a recipe last time I thought this time I’d offer two!
(vegetarians, skip to part 2 below)
First up, a chicken burger that may sound odd at first read but don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it – I’m so happy with this one that I made it twice! (I’m not going to worry you with all the caveats about handling and cooking chicken, you all know the drill, right?)
Second, a no-cook berry refresher. Mmmmm!
OK, that “chicken burger”. I’ve never worked with ground chicken before, and figured it was time. I love grilled chicken with apricot ginger or peach mustard or most any fruity glaze, and we certainly eat cranberries with our turkey, so “sweet with meat” isn’t that foreign if you think about it. I did and here’s what happened.
I bought a pound of ground chicken (dark meat, mmmm!) and assumed that I’d add an egg and some bread crumbs as one would to make a meatloaf. But the ground chicken was so wet (truly beyond moist) when I opened the package that I had to rethink fast. It didn’t want an egg to bind it, it wanted something that would just give it some integrity. Hmmm…
Now a standard pantry item in my house is falafel mix. I can get it in bulk but it is also available boxed in most groceries. It is inexpensive and you can’t (in my opinion) go wrong with chickpeas! So I though that a bit of that might do to turn the ground chicken into something both sturdy (so to speak) and tasty. Oh my…
I ended up with a bowlful of good smelling ready-to-grill maleable but not mushy ground chicken that was exactly what I was hoping for! I will tell you that you can make this and cook it right away, but I really recommend chilling it for a few hours or even overnight as that way the falafel mix and berries (yup, berries) will rehydrate a bit. Trust me… and try this:
It’s the Berries Chicken Burgers
1 lb fresh ground chicken
2 Tbsp fig, pomegranate, or balsamic vinegar
1/4 C falafel mix
1/4 C dried blueberries
greens of 3 scallions chopped fine
Put everything in a bowl, mix well, cover and chill several hours or overnight.
Form into burgers or meatballs and cook on stovetop, broil, or grill until cooked through.
Wowsa! You can serve these as appetizer-style meatballs, or on a bun as a picnic item, or with a nice green salad, or just on a plate. (Oh and you can form them into whatever shape you want and freeze) Mmmmm…
Now, part 2.
My local market is practically throwing melons at us when we walk in. They have at least a half dozen varieties of orange fleshed melons (think cantaloupe), and several green fleshed varieties (think honeydew). They are wonderful but there is only so much melon I can eat and, if you know me you know I can’t stand to waste food. So…
It’s the Berries Very Berry (n)Ice
In a blender, put the flesh of a ripe melon of your choosing. Add the juice of one small lemon and blend until completely liquid.
Put 3 or 4 fresh blueberries (and, optional: a little chopped fresh mint) in each pocket of an ice cube tray. Fill with the melon “water” and freeze.
When frozen, pop out and put in a freezer bag for storage.
Mmmm… you can add these to lemonade, to smoothies, or just pull out mid-winter and slurp to remember summer. Or you can blend the fresh blueberries right in with the melon and lemon and just drink it up without freezing. Or you can turn it into a granita if you have the freezer space, time and inclination… it’s not just good, it’s the berries! Mmmm…
Ok, now I’m hungry and surely it is lunch time somewhere! Be sure to let us know if you try either of these, OK?