Summary: Though I've come to terms with this admission, I still wince slightly when I it aloud: I don't like hamburgers. I don't think I ever did, but the last I ate was in high school -20 years ago- and I've never missed them. I do love the idea of burgers though, especially during summertime when you can sit outside, crack open a watermelon, pour some sweet tea and enjoy the sunshine. As such, I need non-beef burgers in my repetoire, and I prefer that they not look like pancakes or pucks, sad seconds to the juicy beef patties sharing grill space. I love real veggie burgers but chicken and/or turkey make the best substitutes for the "real" deal. This recipe is inspired by a southwestern turkey burger recipe I once had (white meat and chili) and by a delicious Aleppo-yogurt chicken kebab recipe I found on epicurious (chicken, Aleppo, yogurt). It's lighter than air, super moist and completely satisfying. You can make the patties ahead of time. Simply cover tightly and refrigerate until you're ready to grill them. If you opt against using the breadcrumbs (which is totally fine!), the meat mixture will seem slightly loose. Just make sure your grill is completely heated and you won't lose a bit.
Yield: 6-7 patties
- 3 tablespoons (packed) minced preserved lemon
- 1 cup diced yellow or white onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (roughly 2 nice-sized cloves)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup (scant) Greek-style yogurt
- 1¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or equal parts sweet paprika and crushed red pepper)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1¼ pound best-quality ground chicken
- 2 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs (optional; use if you like a slightly firmer burger.)
In a large mixing bowl, toss together the first five ingredients (preserved lemon through olive oil). Let sit for at least 5 minutes. In the meantime, in a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, Aleppo pepper and mint.
Preheat your grill - you'll want it at about 475° Fahrenheit.
To the lemon-onion mixture In the large bowl, add the ground chicken and yogurt blend. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to gently combine everything until the lemons and onions and yogurt sauce are evenly distributed throughout. Shape into patties. You'll get 6-7.
Oil the grates on your hot grill (carefully) and grill the burgers, flipping once, until a thermometer inserted into the centers just reads 165° F. Serve on lightly toasted buns (I like potato) with whatever fixings you prefer. I like lettuce, tomato and some arugula-mint mayo. Avocado would probably be nice too!