Stuffed Burgers

RESHAPING THE BASIC BURGER

It’s only mid May and the enticing smell of the neighborhood barbecues drifts through the air. Spring has felt more like summer due to the high temperatures we are having.

Burgers have long been a summer barbecue staple so why not put a new spin on it. My first thought goes to using the same spice combination for a variety of ground meats such as beef, chicken/turkey, or pork. Next make a filling that would taste great in whatever meat you feel like serving or better still use a variety.

Over the last couple of weeks I did some recipe development  on seven different ideas to simplify  making  ‘Stuffed Burgers’.   In my next few blogs I would like to share these recipes with you.  Here is the list:   > Moroccan            >  Apple-Zucchini Bacon            > Savory-Herb                               > Seafood/Avocado &  Spinach/Cheese Portobello Mushroom Burgers                                                  > Mushroom-Cheese Stuffed Ground Salmon    > Garden Grain Burgers    

The focus of my blog is very often on the ‘Taste of a Memory’  so I decided to start my stuffed burger series with a memory from Morocco.

In 2014, my husband Brion and I enjoyed a holiday travelling Spain, Morocco, and Portugal. I had never really paid to much attention to the interesting flavor of the Moroccan spices before that trip. Since then I have made numerous dishes that included them as we have come to really enjoy that flavor.

Key Moroccan spices include aniseed, black pepper, cayenne, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, paprika, parsley, saffron and turmeric.      

Morocco is like a tree whose roots lie in Africa but whose leaves breath in European air. This is a metaphor that has been used to describe a country that is profoundly traditional and strongly drawn to the modern. It is this double-sided, seemingly contradictory disposition that gives Morocco its cultural richness. The country is slightly larger in area than California. Unlike most other African countries, it produces all the food it needs to feed its people. Located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the country is rich in fish and seafood. Beef is not plentiful, so meals are usually built around lamb or poultry. Another Moroccan staple is couscous, made from fine grains of a wheat product called semolina. It is served many different ways with vegetables, meat or seafood.

In today’s  Moroccan Burgers, I used beef and turkey patties, stuffing them with a spicy fruit filling. Strange as it seems, Brion and I found mustard   to be a great condiment to use on them.  In keeping with the Moroccan theme, couscous makes a nice side dish however you choose to prepare it. Your comments are most welcome.                                       

Print Recipe
Stuffed Burgers
I used the same spice combination in the basic meat patty recipe for whatever meat I chose to use ( beef, chicken/turkey, pork), to keep it simple. These meat patties were then used to prepare the SAVORY-HERB, APPLE-ZUCCHINI BACON, & MOROCCAN burgers.
Servings
Ingredients
Basic Meat Patties
Moroccan Spicy Fruit Filling
Easy Couscous Side Dish
Servings
Ingredients
Basic Meat Patties
Moroccan Spicy Fruit Filling
Easy Couscous Side Dish
Instructions
Basic Meat Patties
  1. Place ground meat in a large bowl & combine with spices. Mix well. Shape into 8 - 1/4" thick patties. Place equal amounts of prepared filling in center of each of 4 patties. Top with remaining 4 patties & press gently to seal, enclosing filling completely.
  2. Place burgers in a greased foil disposable pan. Preheat barbecue grill to a medium heat, place pan on grates & close lid. Turn burgers once during cooking time, (do not overcook as the meat is only 1/4" thick on each side).
  3. Serve on a Ciabatta bun (or hamburger bun of your choice).
Moroccan Spicy Fruit Filling
  1. Combine dates, apricots, raisins, apple & orange juice in a small bowl. Season with spices. Mix well; set aside to let marinate for a few hours. Divide between 4 burger patties & complete as above.
Couscous Side Dish
  1. Heat 1/2 tsp olive oil in small saucepan. Add next 4 ingredients. Cook & stir until green onion is softened. Add honey. Heat & stir until onion is coated.
  2. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Add couscous & 1 tsp olive oil. Stir. Cover. Remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes without lifting the lid. Fluff with fork; stirring in remaining ingredients adding a bit of butter if it seems to solid. Makes about 2 3/4 cups.
Recipe Notes
  • I found it really made this whole burger idea easy if I made 908 grams (2lbs) of each of the 3 types of ground meat into patties. Portion the meat with a scoop into 56 grams (2 oz.) balls, flatten & place in a plastic container, layered singly between a non-stick waxed paper to freeze.
  • When it comes time to use, take out the number of patties you require for the meal. Prepare the filling of choice, stuff & cook. What could be easier than that for a quick & easy great tasting meal! 

Picnic ‘Oven’ Fried Chicken

In my opinion, no one could ever surpass my mother’s cooking. I think the only thing she ever made that I didn’t like was Cream of Wheat cereal, which really doesn’t count. Although we raised chickens, pigs and cattle, the meal we ate the most was always chicken. The reason being, whatever brought the most money when sold was raised for the family income. No matter how many times my mother served chicken it was always amazingly good.

I especially remember those Sundays when our family, along with some family friends, would drive up into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where we would just enjoy the peacefulness and great scenery. Mom would make her glorious fried chicken & potato salad. Without even realizing it, we were enjoying an experience that was truly a ‘piece of heaven’.

Print Recipe
Picnic Fried Chicken
Marinating the chicken overnight gives it a fantastic taste as well as making it extra tender.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45-55 minutes
Passive Time 3 hrs or overnight
Servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45-55 minutes
Passive Time 3 hrs or overnight
Servings
Instructions
  1. In a small container, whisk together marinade ingredients. Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag, turn to coat & refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Remove chicken from marinade; shake off any excess & discard. Transfer chicken to prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake, uncovered for 45-55 minutes or until no longer pink inside when tested.

Spiced Chicken Stuffed Potato Loaf

In the early 1950’s, my father was able to purchase another piece of land about 4 miles from our home place. Between the two farms it became the equivalent of a ‘section’. Before this time, the cattle had to be moved to a community pasture in the foothills where they would have enough grass to graze on over the summer. At that time to transport them, you had no choice but to herd them down the road allowance for approximately 20-30 miles on foot. To say the least it was a long grueling event for both the cattle and family members.

The ‘other farm’, as we referred to it, had originally been a slaughter house for the town meat market. It consisted of one large building, corals and a few other buildings. There was a slough on the land which dad had converted to a ‘dug out’ where the cattle could go and drink freely. The land was used for grain crops where in turn the cattle could be pastured on.

One of my fondest memories about the other farm was our picnic lunches. In the summer when dad would be working on the land, instead of my mother just packing a lunch for him that he could take in the morning, she would fix a wonderful ‘picnic lunch’. At about 11:30 in the morning, mom would pack up the lunch she had prepared, complete with plates, silverware, a tablecloth, etc., and we would drive to the ‘other farm’. There was just the right amount of space between two grain buildings to set up a make-shift table and stools. We would put the table cloth down and spread out our little picnic ‘feast’. Dad would be so surprised and we would all enjoy our lunch immensely. Mom always knew how to make the most simple things fun for us.

Lunch was always different from the your usual lunch box meal and my mother never seemed to be short on tasty ideas. I think you will enjoy trying this Spiced Chicken Stuffed Potato Loaf  the next time you you have a crowd to feed.

Print Recipe
Spiced Chicken Stuffed Potato Loaf
A hearty chicken 'sandwich' rolled up and baked in a potato bread.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1hr 35 mins
Passive Time 5 1/4 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Filling
Potato Bread Dough
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1hr 35 mins
Passive Time 5 1/4 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Filling
Potato Bread Dough
Instructions
  1. Butterfly chicken breasts & carefully pound to flatten. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine marinade ingredients; add chicken breast. Seal bag & turn to coat; refrigerate for 4 hours, turning occasionally. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a 9" baking dish with foil. Place chicken on foil & bake about 45 minutes or until no longer pink inside. Remove from oven, cool & chop.
  2. Cut broccoli into small florets & microwave for 1 minute. Boil potato, mash & cool. Fry bacon, drain & crumble. Chop chives.
  3. In a small bowl, combine yeast with lukewarm water; whisk until yeast is dissolved. Let stand about 3 minutes until foamy. Add butter, salt, sour cream & potato; mix well. Add bacon & chives; mix until just combined. Stir in flour, one cup at a time. When dough is completely blended, turn onto a lightly floured surface (using some of the remaining 1/4 cup flour). Knead dough about 10 minutes, until smooth & elastic. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap & let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Remove risen dough from bowl, turn onto lightly floured surface; roll dough to about a 12" X 15" rectangle. Place a large piece of parchment on a sheet pan. Roll dough onto a rolling pin then unroll onto parchment paper. Place 1/2 of the cheese down the center of dough, top with chicken, broccoli & remaining cheese. Fold short ends in about 1". Using parchment, fold one side over filling, overlapping with opposite side. Cover with plastic; allow to rise for 15 minutes while preheating oven to 375 F. Brush with egg wash. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.
Recipe Notes
  • If you prefer less dough to filling ratio; make half of the dough into 'potato pan rolls' for another time.
  • If you would like to serve with a quick 'sauce', combine a can of cream of mushroom soup with 1/2 can of milk.
  • To simplify the process, use purchased frozen bread dough or pizza crust.
  • Potato dough recipe adapted from girlversusdough.com