Basil Chicken Burgers

This recipe is born of my garden -- The Farm.  Basil is abundant this year.  I promise this is the most moist chicken burger you have ever eaten.  And if you use fresh basil, like I do, you have another favorite burger recipe in your food repertoire.

Basil is my inspiration for this recipe.  I grow basil every summer.  Some years, the crop is better than others, and this year is terrific!  I must find ways to use this delicious summer herb, so here is my recipe for basil chicken burgers.

Note:  This is NOT a dry burger, despite what your previous experience with chicken burgers might be.  The basil mayo ensures a tasty, moist burger.  As always, you are encouraged to customize with whatever toppings or herbs you enjoy... make the burger your own!  I will include my recommendations for toppings that we love.

Ingredients -- for 4 basil chicken burgers

1 pound of ground chicken (white meat, if you grind your own)
3/4 cup mayonnaise (I prefer Hellman’s)
1/4 cup fresh basil, about 10 big leaves, cut into ribbons
1 lemon, zested
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Burger buns
Toppings of your choice
Mix the mayo, basil, lemon zest, and garlic into a bowl.  Add the salt and pepper.  TASTE!  Adjust flavors to your preference.

Put the ground chicken and bread crumbs into a large bowl, and add HALF of the mayo mixture.  Use a spatula to combine everything well, without beating up the chicken.  It should look very nice and moist.  If it doesn’t, add the juice of half of the lemon or an extra tablespoon of mayo.

(Sometimes, if you buy prepared ground chicken, it comes in 1.25 pound packages.  If you have more than 1 pound of ground chicken, you might need to add a little extra lemon juice or mayo to give the meat the wet feeling that we’re looking for.)

Form the chicken mixture into 4 equal patties.  The mayo and breadcrumbs will hold the patty together, but be clear:  this is a somewhat wet patty.  If the patty is moist (but not dripping apart), you’re on the right track.  If they are super drippy, add more bread crumbs, a tablespoon at a time.   I form my patties and put them on wax paper.  After the patties are formed, place them in the fridge for at least 2 hours.  This makes the patties “set up” and helps them keep their form when you cook them.

Bring the patties out of the fridge 10 minutes before you want to grill them.  If you prefer, they can be cooked in a hot skillet.

Put the patties on the grill (or in the pan, medium high, with a splash of canola oil), and DO NOT move them for 4-5 minutes, depending on how thick they are.  (Mine are about 1/2 inch thick.)  You need to allow the first side to cook, and create a crust, so that the burger will not fall apart when you flip it.  Always go longer on the first side, and shorter on the second side, so that you don’t flip too quickly and make the burger fall apart.  Cook the 2nd side for 3 - 4 minutes, again depending on size of patty.  Use your burger intuition, experience, and a thermometer.  The patties want to be 165 degrees F for safe eating.

Use the leftover mayo mixture to dress the burger buns.  We like to top ours with a handful of fresh arugula or romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, perhaps a dollop of goat cheese.  Be creative with your toppings!

Note:  The recipe works equally well with fresh rosemary in place of basil.  Just chop it up very finely before adding it to the mayo.

​First published by Judy on August 27, 2013