Thai Chicken Burgers with Napa Cabbage Slaw

Cider food pairings chicken

For years our go to burger was turkey, but this summer it will be replaced by this beautifully herbed chicken burger. You will make this slaw once for this burger, and then you will make it over and over and serve it with everything. It is so delicious that when you taste it your natural response is mmmmmm from a place deep inside you.

Yield: 4 burgers

1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or 1 1/4 pounds 85% or 90% lean ground chicken)
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sambal oelek (1 teaspoon sriracha or 1/2 teaspoon chile flakes will also work)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup bread crumbs (preferably panko)
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 tablespoon chopped mint
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar

High-heat vegetable oil, for cooking the burgers
Soft sesame seed hamburger buns
1 recipe Napa Cabbage Slaw (see below)

Cut the chicken thighs into 1-inch cubes. Arrange the cubed chicken in a single layer on a large plate or sheet-pan and freeze until the edges of each piece of meat are frozen but the center is still soft, 15-20 minutes.

Put the peeled garlic cloves in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely minced. Add the par-frozen chicken and pulse until the meat is roughly chopped. The goal is to have 1/4- to 1/3-inch pieces of chicken rather than a mixture that resembles pâté. This will take about 15 to 20 short pulses. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients and use your hands to mix thoroughly. Divide the seasoned chicken into 4 balls of equal size, then form the balls into patties, making a 1/2-inch depression in the center of each to account for the fact that the burgers will swell as they cook. When you have formed all the patties, place them in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

Light 2/3 chimney’s-worth of charcoal. When hot and glowing, pour out the charcoal on one side of your grill. Place the cooking grate in place, close the lid and allow the grill to preheat for 5-10 minutes.

If using a gas grill, set half of your burners to medium-high, close the lid and allow the grill to preheat for at least 10 minutes.
When the grill is hot, clean the grill grate and brush it generously with the vegetable oil. Place the burgers on the hot side of the grill and cook, without turning, until the burgers are nicely charred and release from the grate, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook until the other side is nicely charred and the burgers are no longer pink inside when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 5 minute more. Transfer the burgers to a sheet-pan or large plate to rest. If desired, brush the cut sides of the buns lightly with vegetable oil and grill until warmed through and grill marks appear.

To serve, place the grilled burgers on a bun and top with a generous amount of the slaw. Serve any remaining slaw alongside the burgers (it goes fast!).

Napa Cabbage Slaw
Yield: About 8 cups

8 cups (about 1 pound) coarsely shredded napa cabbage
1 cup thinly sliced radishes
1 cup julienned carrots (yellow or orange bell pepper also works well)
12 ounces snow peas, strings removed and thinly sliced on the bias (yields about 2 cups)
1 cup thinly sliced green onions, green part only
1 cup cilantro leaves, lightly packed

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup shelled, roasted, salted peanuts

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, radishes, carrots, snow peas, green onions and cilantro.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, ginger and cayenne. Whisk to dissolve the sugar. Add the mayonnaise and continue to whisk until the dressing is homogenous.

Just before serving, add the dressing and peanuts to the vegetables. Mix to coat thoroughly.

*Note: Only dress and add the nuts to the slaw mix you intend to eat immediately; it will get soggy if it sits with dressing on it. The remaining vegetables and dressing will keep, covered and stored separately in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.

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