Friday, February 25, 2011

February 25: Big Bird: Jumbo Chicken, Spinach, and Herb Burgers with Mushrooms and Swiss

1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
2 pounds ground chicken breast
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, plus some for slathering on the rolls
10 leaves of fresh basil, shredded or torn
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
   Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
20 white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
4 slices Swiss cheese, from the deli counter
4 kaiser rolls or sandwich-size sourdough English muffins, split and toasted
4 red or green leaf lettuce leaves
1 vine-ripe tomato, thinly sliced

Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Arrange the defrosted chopped spinach in the center of a kitchen towel. Wrap the towel around the spinach and squeeze out the excess liquid. Put the spinach in a mixing bowl and combine with the chicken, shallots, 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Score the meat with the side of your hand to separate into 4 equal portions. Make 4 large patties, 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Drizzle the patties with oil and place them in the hot skillet. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes on each side, until the chicken is cooked through.

Preheat a second medium-size skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of EVOO. Add the sliced mushrooms and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are nice and brown. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Add the wine or broth and cook until the pan is almost dry, about 2 minutes.

Top the big-bird burgers with the mushroom topping and the Swiss cheese. Fold each slice of cheese in half to fit the burger, if necessary. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Turn off the pan and let the cheese melt, about 2 minutes.

Slather the tops of the buns or English muffins with a little mustard. Place the burgers on the bun bottoms and top with lettuce and tomato. Put the bun or muffin tops in place.


Tonight was Friday (comfort food night for my husband), but I forgot about it, so I just had planned to make the Big Bird burgers. But when he called me from work telling me he needed spicy food for his sinuses for dinner, I just made the burgers, but made him a spicy one. I put cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper and Tabasco in the burger, then I put sauteed jalapenos and pepper jack cheese on top instead of mushrooms and Swiss. I'm glad I was rescued this way because mushroom and Swiss on burgers is not his idea of comfort food (it is mine!).

When the recipe says "jumbo," it's an understatement! These burgers are humongous!!! I am surprised I ate the whole thing. But I did because it was really good! I was afraid the chicken/spinach combination would be too dry, but when you add the herbs (basil in particular) it has a very nice flavor and it really isn't too dry. The mushrooms and Swiss just make it that much better.

I used kaiser rolls, toasted, not English muffins. I wonder if it would be as good with English muffins. My Kaiser rolls were yummy (and I think my picture looks better than Rachael Ray's picture in the cookbook). By the way, she only has a few of the recipes pictured in the center of the cookbook. This is one of them. She has it pictured with chips although the recipe does not call for chips. It definitely doesn't need them. There is so much meat on that burger!!!