So… are you a lover? Or a hater? This recipe is all about loving things I normally hate: the food processor, dark meat, bok choy.
My food processor lives tucked away in that high up cabinet above the fridge. The one that you need a step stool to reach. It’s not even full-sized, it was the smallest one we could find. When we bought it we were on a strict graduate school budget. I think it cost $20 bucks. Some people swear by their food processor but I’m not a huge follower. I learned quickly that the food processor, unless you have an amazing one with a bunch of attachments, compromises texture. So I chop my onions by hand, usually crying in the process. I do think it does a great job with garlic, but so does my garlic press. I do, however, love my food processor to mince my own meat.
I grew up eating ground beef, chicken, turkey, what have you. I never thought twice about it until I went to Chile. There, I realized that the secret to an amazing pino (mixture of beef and onions) is buying a good chunk of meat and mincing it yourself. In fact, my mother in law patiently will chop a piece of meat into the tiniest pieces. I once asked her why she didn’t just buy some ground beef and she explained that the quality and texture is just so much better when you do it yourself.
So when I stumbled upon Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipe for Chicken Burgers, Thai Style, I decided that I would resist the temptation to take the shortcut of buying ground chicken and mince it myself using my food processor. While this recipe is based off of Paltrow’s burgers, I made a few changes and also sought out a more specific recipe for Bok Choy. I’m not usually a fan of dark meat, but Paltrow suggests you use it. She’s right. The burgers are flavorful and juicy. Chicken thighs are easy to work with and inexpensive.
And then there’s Bok Choy, also known as Chinese cabbage. I’m going to be honest with you. I didn’t try it until college, my freshman year in the university dining hall. The year I learned what Dim Sum was and learned how to use chopsticks. The first time I tasted Bok Choy I hated it. It was crunchy but soggy and wilted. But did you know it’s packed with beta carotene? And fiber? And lowers cholesterol? I’ve finally grown to like it…
These are two separate recipes that compliment each other very well. We ate our chicken burgers without bread, but you can serve them on a traditional bun or on a nice thick slice of whole grain.
Thai Chicken Burgers with Spicy Bok Choy
For the burgers:
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed away
- 2 shallots, peeled
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper or red chile pepper, ends and seeds removed
- 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and trimmed
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon peanut butter or tahini
- 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
For the Bok Choy:
- 3-4 heads baby bok choy, washed and bottom trimmed off
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 small chunk ginger (about 1/2-inch), peeled grated
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 dash soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
To make the burgers:
- Finely mince shallots, garlic and jalapeño in food processor.
- Working in batches if necessary, add chicken thighs to mixture and process until uniformly minced into small pieces.
- Place chicken and shallot garlic mixture into a bowl.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add peanut butter or tahini, sriracha, cilantro and soy sauce and stir to combine.
- Mix together vegetable oil and sesame oil and coat a large sauté pan.
- Heat oils over medium to high heat.
- Preheat broiler.
- Form chicken mixture into 4 small patties or 2-3 large patties.
- Fry each side in heated oil for about 5- minutes. Patties should brown but not burn.
- When both sides have browned, flip burgers onto least browned sides and place in oven under broiler for 5-10 minutes, careful not to burn.
- Burgers should be cooked throughout and insides should be completely cooked (not pink).
To make the Bok Choy:
- In a large sauté pan with a lid, preheat vegetable oil over medium heat.
- Add garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes to oil and cook for a minute.
- Add bok choy and coat in oil, garlic and ginger mixture. Stir fry for about 5 minutes.
- Add soy sauce and water to pan. Cover and allow to steam for another 5 minutes until greens are wilted but the white part is still crunchy.
- Coat in sesame oil and serve immediately.
Create a bed with the bok choy to serve the burgers. Garnish with avocado.