The sun peaked out of the dense gray and warmed my dark hair as my children climbed ropes and dangled from monkey bars. It was something akin to a spring day, shrieks and laughter are freer when carried on warm breaths of air. The weight of winter is slowly lifting, never mind that we had a weak Nor’easter bluster its way through the region on Friday because Wednesday and Thursday were devoted to sun. The beginning of a new season is promise and we are in the midst of a full on love affair with spring right now. The rain that beats the windows and chills our cheeks has yet to arrive and if we try hard enough we can even have a picnic outside instead of in the living room, no matter how fun and unique a living room picnic may be in November it has lost its charm by March.
After Miss N had happily dug in the stones at her playground and hung upside down for an admirable amount of time we ventured off to the grocery store in search of barbecue fare. We rarely buy hot dogs but the first warm day of the year demands hot dogs slathered in ketchup and cushioned on a fluffy white pillow of bun. I am not much for hot dogs so after sighing dramatically over all the packages of sausages that contained corn syrup solids (for all their faults, the hot dogs did not) I settled on ground chicken so I could make these cheese stuffed burgers. Since the children were not having the chicken burgers with us I was free to make them spicy and loaded with onions even though Bubs had half of one for lunch the next day and loved it.
I highly recommend storing a package of wasabi powder in your refrigerator for all sorts of culinary uses, mixed with honey or in an aioli and it is one of my quintessential warm weather flavours. If you have ever eaten sushi you will know that wasabi can be a sinus-clearing, eye watering experience if you aren’t careful so just remember you don’t need much to get the woody, mushroomy flavour of it.
Honey Wasabi Chicken Burgers (cheese-stuffed)
Yields 5 patties. Preparation time is 10 minutes and cooking time is 15-18 minutes. Total: 25-30 minutes
1lb. of ground chicken
1/4 cup finely crushed plain wheat cracker
one onion, chopped
one cup shredded spinach
one tsp each of salt and freshly ground pepper
5 1”x1” squares of goat mozzarella (about a half inch thick)
2 tbsp. liquid honey
1-2 tsp. wasabi paste
- In a large bowl combine the first group of ingredients. Mix well with your hands.
- Take a clumped pinch (about 2 tablespoons) of the chicken mix and form into a round patty. Place a piece of the cheese in the centre.
- Top with another patty made of approximately same amount of ground chicken mix.
- Repeat until you have used all of the mix.
- To make the wasabi paste add a half tsp of boiling hot water to the dry wasabi powder. Mix until dissolved. Add 2 tablespoons of honey and mix well.
- Brush a hot barbecue or equally hot grill pan with oil and gently place the burgers on it. Cook for 7-8 minutes or until the sides of the pink burger are a solid white.
- Flip and cook for 7-8 minutes. At the 5 minute mark drizzle the the honey and wasabi over top. Be sure to reserve some of the wasabi honey to spread on the bottom half of the burger bun.
Once cooked dress with a micro spring green mix and a light dollop of mayonnaise. Extra points if you make your own aioli, they are always worth it. We served ours with sweet potato wedges and wasabi mayonnaise. Enjoy.