Puerto Rican Piquant Chicken Burger

Wine Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc

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When considering America’s best local burgers, let us not overlook the delightful American Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. If you’re thinking rice and beans, visualize, as well, the smoky mouth-watering aroma of coconut and cilantro infused chicken burgers on the grill. Imagine, furthermore, a sweet and tart pineapple, mango and pumpkin seed topping.

Living in Bayamon, Puerto Rico for a year as an exchange teacher, I became enamored of the fresh tropical fruits and vegetables I ate every day. Fortunately, I don’t have to live with just these memories, as these delights are available here on the mainland. Even though I now make them here, they are always reminiscent of the popular outdoor barbecue parties and fragrances permeating the air of a Caribbean fresh produce market.


For the relish:

1 cup pineapple cut into 1/4 inch cubes
3/4 cup mango cut into 1/4 inch cubes
3 T jicama cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 T pumpkins seeds, toasted and chopped
1 T parsley, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 T sherry vinegar
1 T Lyles’s Golden Syrup
1 t salt

For the burger:

2 1/2 lbs. boned and skinned chicken breast
3 T coconut unsweetened milk–thick cream from top of opened can. (Do not mix contents of can.)
2 T shopped cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T olive oil, plus extra for brushing burgers
2 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper

6 ciabatta rolls sliced in half
6 leaves butterhead or bibb lettuce
6 tomato slices
6 T unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted


Mix pineapple, mango, jicama, pumpkin seeds, parsley, olive oil, vinegar, 1 tablespoon of Lyle’s Golden Syrup and salt. Refrigerate until needed.

Prepare grill to medium high heat.

Pulse chicken in a food processor to a coarse chop. Transfer to a large bowl and mix together gently with coconut milk, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Form into six burgers and chill 1/2 hour to 1 hour. Brush with olive oil on both sides and grill 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through and golden.

Brush the roll halves lightly with olive oil and grill lightly. Assemble each burger by placing a lettuce leaf on each bottom half, then a tomato slice, a burger, topped with 2 tablespoons of the relish, 1 tablespoon of toasted coconut and the top half of each bun. Serve.