My attempt to find slightly healthier things to add to our diet is failing miserably. The problem is not so much that I fail to find healthy, delicious food or even cook it. That part is easy. What is hard is stopping either Andy or myself from sabotaging things. A few weeks back I made a supposedly healthy omelette (not really sure about that since it was loaded with bacon and potato) and Andy ‘finished’ it with a ridiculously generous grating of cheese.
And then earlier this week, I found this recipe for ‘herby chicken rissoles‘. Now, ‘rissole’ is a word that makes my skin crawl. If I had to pick a least favourite word this would be up there. Really. It’s horrible. It smacks of grey, bland, the worst excesses of the 1970s. ICK!
Also, I am not generally a fan of things made from mushed up chicken. Chicken sausages, as a rule, are quite frightening things. I’m pleased to report we have found an exception to that – my dad’s butcher (Brighton City Meats) makes these amazing chunky chicken sausages. They are chock full of big pieces of meat and have tons of texture in addition to flavour. And texture is the thing that chicken sausages and rissoles or burgers often lacks.
So I was interested to see how a home made chicken patty, rissole or burger would stand up to my somewhat critical eye.
We completely ruined the health aspect of this. With 500g of chicken mince we made a just a few enormous burgers (the original recipe suggests making 4 small rissoles from 100g of chicken mince) and we then put them into bread rolls, loaded with salad and and a smear (or two) of aioli. And in my case topped with a generous heap of kim chi …
Naturally, we also set one aside to feed to the small child who enjoyed it. If you are a parent who disguises vegetables, these burgers may be a way of sneaking zucchini and carrot past picky eaters.
On their own, the burgers did suffer a bit from a homogeneity of texture, which could potentially be fixed by a coating of panko before frying. Or by eating them in a roll – because the crusty roll and crunchy lettuce go a long way to adding necessary texture.
I think these would also work very well on a much small scale as a canapé. Again – you would need a panko crumb and you would also need a dipping sauce to serve alongside them. Something like a mojo picon would work beautifully.
Healthy, veggie-packed chicken burgers
- 500g chicken mince
- 3 cloves of garic, crushed and finely chopped
- ½ cup of breadcrumbs
- 1 zucchini (courgette), grated and if possible drained
- 1 carrot, grated
- packet of chives, finely chopped
- salt and pepper - to taste
- Mix the chicken mince with all the other ingredients. If you have not had a chance to drain the grated zucchini, you may find you need to add more breadcrumbs.
- Season well.
- Take a small ball of mixture and fry up to check seasoning.
- Form the mixture into bite size balls, rissoles or burgers, depending on how your planning on using it. Set the shaped mixture onto trays that have been lined with baking paper, lightly dusted with flour. Put in the fridge and leave to firm up for at least an hour.
- Add some oil (spray oil if you wish) to a pan and heat over medium-high heat and cook the burgers until done (timing will depend on how big you have made them!).
- You could also cook these on the barbecue.
- Alternatively they can be cooked in advance and reheated when you wish to serve them.
How appetising does this look?
I think this recipe does rather count towards my healthy eating project. It’s cooked with a minimal amount of additional fat, and it’s easy to add plenty of vegetables. However, I didn’t choose it because of that.
I chose it because we are overrun with limes and I knew it was something I could prep in advance and just deal with the chicken at the last minute. We have recently extended our home grown herb selection to include oregano too (it’s an a pot and not only is it thriving, it looks great too!) so I liked that I wasn’t going to have to head to the shops to spend $3 or $4 on a packet of sad looking fresh herb.
The original comes from the excellent and reliable Delicious (UK) site. I substituted a lime for the lemon which I think is a good call, as even if you’re not drowning in limes, lemons can end up overpowering dishes like this whereas lime is a much more subtle flavour. Rather than using a whole head of garlic, I used a few cloves (skin on) and added carrots to my pan. We were going to steam some broccoli to serve as a side but you could also pop some broccoli florets in the pan for the last 10 or so minutes of cooking.
The beauty of cooking like this is that you do not have to worry about making a gravy or sauce to go with your meal. That magic just happens for you.
While this is not a true one-pot dish you could make it so by not bothering with browning the chicken. However, I urge you take the time to do so because not only does the finished dish look more attractive, I think it tastes better and the flavour of the self made gravy/sauce is much improved.
Roasted Chicken with Garlic and Herbs
- 3 or 4 potatoes, cut into chunks
- 2 carrots, cut into quarters
- 4-6 cloves of garlic, skin on (as many or as few as you want, really)
- 1 lime, sliced (about 4 or 5 slices)
- 2 sprigs of oregano
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- handful of pitted kalamata olives
- ~ 100 mL dry white wine
- olive oil
- 4-5 chicken thighs
- Pre-heat oven to 200°C (180°C fan).
- In a large, lidded baking or roasting dish, drizzle a little olive oil and then arrange the vegetables and herbs on top. This can be done in advance.
- On the stove, heat a pan with a little oil, season the chicken thighs and brown them on both sides.
- When the chicken thighs are browned, place them on top of the vegetables. Put on the lid and place in the oven.
- Cook until the chicken juices run clear and the vegetables are done - this will probably be about 30-40 minutes.
- Serve with additional steamed vegetables on the side and the sauce from the pan poured over the top.
Straya (that’s ‘Australia’ to most of the English speaking world …) Day is just around the corner and here in Adelaide we’re looking at a cracking long weekend, with temperatures in the mid to high 20s. Perfect for … BBQ.
I found this chicken skewer/kebab recipe relatively recently and as sambal oelek is one of my all time favourite condiments I had to try it out promptly. We had ourselves all planned to BBQ this and then … the heavens opened. And while Andy would have been (mostly) dry while doing the cooking, the hot plate itself was so wet that Andy doubted he’d even get things hot enough to dry it out, let alone cook on it.
And no one wants a wet kebab.
Thank goodness for grills! Even though it was really a bit hot in the house to be turning on the grill, we had no option. There was no incentive to start messing around with skewers – we just cooked the chunks of meat and off we went!
You don’t need to be too fussy over quantities and we didn’t bother following the original recipe’s instructions about boiling up left over marinade and so on. If you are doing BBQ food you want bang for buck, not lots of messing around!
This, along with the Xinjiang lamb skewers, is definitely going to be on our BBQ go-to list!
- 1 tsp light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp sambal oelek
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp Sriracha
- 1 tsp ginger, finely grated
- approx 500g chicken thigh fillets
- Chop the chicken thigh fillets into skewer size chunks.
- Mix all the other ingredients together and marinate the chicken for at least an hour - overnight is always best.
- Thread chicken on to skewers and cook on a hot BBQ (or grill). Serve with salad.