A couple of months ago my daughter switched up her nap schedule and threw our daily routine out of whack. One of the byproducts of this change was that I had a little time to myself late in the afternoon. Despite having many more productive things I could have been doing, one day I chose to spend a little time catching up on episodes of The Chew that I had missed by watching them online.
Since I hadn’t had much time to visit some of my favorite food blogs lately, this respite came at a great time because my dinner routine had become rather stale. And one video clip in particular proved to be just the inspiration I needed to do something fun in the kitchen. In this particular episode they had a viewer recipe contest and the winner that day made chicken parm burgers, which struck me as a brilliant idea.
One of my all time favorites is chicken parmesan and I love to make sandwiches out of leftovers. And, as good as they are, I loved the idea of using ground chicken, seasoning it up and forming it into a burger patty shape to mix things up. I scanned through the recipes to get the basics and then set out to put my own spin on the dish.
The first thing I did was grab some boneless chicken thighs and grind them up using a coarse plate. From there I added egg, grated pecorino romano cheese, finely minced garlic, a pinch of dried oregano and basil, finely diced shallots that I briefly soaked in lemon juice, fresh ground black pepper, salt and just enough panko bread crumbs to keep the mixture together. Working quickly, because ground chicken can be unforgiving as it gets up to room temperature, I formed the mixture into patties and got them back into the refrigerator to firm up.
The recipe that inspired these goes on to pan fry the chicken park patties as is, which I’m sure would have been great, but I wanted to go one step further. So, I busted out some flour that I seasoned with salt and pepper, scrambled two eggs and water for an egg wash, and mixed together some panko and romano cheese. I dredged the patties through the flour, egg and panko baths until they were well coated, then returned them to the ice box for about half an hour. This is a nice trick I recently learned for when I’m coating something. Giving the breaded items a chance to rest before putting them in a pan of hot oil helps keep the coating on better.
After the chicken parm burgers were nicely browned on both sides, I drained them on a paper towel to wick away any excess oil, then placed them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. After topping them with a tablespoon or two of tomato sauce and some cheese, I put them in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes to finish cooking and melt the cheese.
These were a big hit with my family, even my picky four year old that is a confirmed carbivore managed to let one pass through his formidable defenses. Because of this I’ve made them several times over the last few months and have played around with seasonings, as well as bread and cheese options. For us, our favorite was to top them off with burrata cheese, which is a combination of a firm fresh mozzarella exterior with a smooth, creamy interior, and serve them on focaccia, as we felt it gave us a favorable meat to bread ratio.
No matter how you choose to top or serve, these chicken parm burgers are a fun, delicious way to mix up a traditional favorite.
Chicken Parm Burgers
- 1 pound boneless chicken thighs, ground coarsely
- 1 cup finely grated pecorino romano cheese, 1/2 cup reserved
- 3 cups panko bread crumbs, 2 reserved
- 3 eggs, 2 reserved
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 shallot, finely minced (and briefly soaked in 50/50 mix of lemon juice and water, if desired)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Canola oil, for frying
- Tomato sauce of your choice
- Cheese of your choice for topping
- Roll or bun of your choice for serving
- Grind the chicken thighs and add the next nine ingredients, mix thoroughly
- Quickly form into patties and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes to firm up
- If desired, using the reserved ingredients dredge the patties through the flour, then egg, then the panko and cheese mixture and refrigerate again for 20 to 30 minutes
- Add the canola oil to a frying pan and bring up to temperature
- Fry the patties on medium high heat until browned on both sides; remove from oil and drain on a paper towel
- Place patties on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper; top with tomato sauce and cheese, then bake in 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes
- Serve on the roll or bun of your choice and enjoy