RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Beijing Bistro Burger

Far East cuisine has endless flavor possibilities. When I think of burgers, I tend to think of casual, pub type food. The idea of incorporating the duck along with the Asian flavors elevated this burger to bistro quality. It's still a casual hands-on meal but with complex, unexpected flavors and textures.

Ingredients 

NAPA CABBAGE SLAW:

3 cups thinly slivered Napa cabbage

8 large radishes

half of an English seedless cucumber, (do not peel)

6 green onions, (white & light green part only)

3/4 cup pitted, dried, tart cherries

1/3 cup slivered almonds

DIJON DRESSING FOR SLAW:

6 tablespoons bottled Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons walnut oil

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

FOR PATTIES:

DUCK SAUSAGE:

1 pound duck breast, with skin

3/4 pound pancetta

1/2 of a medium sized red onion

3 garlic cloves

2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

FOR CHICKEN:

3/4 pound ground chicken breast

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

vegetable oil for the grill

6 large, soft kaiser rolls, split

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

GARNISHES:

3/4 cup bottled duck plum sauce

30 large fresh basil leaves

Instructions 

Preheat one side of your grill to medium heat and the other side to high heat.

Cut the Napa cabbage crosswise into very thin slivers and place in a large mixing bowl. Slice the radishes and cucumber into 1/8 inch thick rounds, then cut the rounds into thin matchsticks. Add the radishes and cucumber to the bowl of cabbage. Thinly slice the green onions and add to the bowl. Add the dried tart cherries and toss well. Place the almonds in a medium fireproof skillet and toast on the medium heat side of the grill until light golden and fragrant, 7-10 minutes. Transfer them to a plate and set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, rice vinegar, walnut oil, lime juice, coriander, black pepper and salt. Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss well to coat. Set aside the black sesame seeds to be added just before serving. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Use a meat grinder fitted with the fine grinding attachment to grind the duck breast, including the skin. Cut the pancetta into small chunks and grind that as well. Combine the ground duck and pancetta in a medium mixing bowl. Finely mince the red onion and garlic and add them to the bowl. Use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to coarsely grind the fennel seeds and add them to the bowl. Add the kosher salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes and mix to combine.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken breast, minced chives, minced ginger, coriander, black pepper and kosher salt.

Lay a large piece of waxed paper on your work surface. Divide the chicken mixture into 6 equal portions and gently roll into 6 balls. Divide the duck mixture into 6 equal portions. Working with one at a time, set each portion of duck sausage on the waxed paper and press down to form a disk, about 4 inches in diameter. Set one chicken ball in the center of each duck portion and wrap the duck around the chicken, spreading it with your fingers, to fully enclose the chicken. Lightly press down on each one to form 6 equal patties.

Brush the high heat side of the grill with vegetable oil and cook the patties for about 7 minutes. Flip the patties and cook for 7 minutes more or until an instant read thermometer placed in the thickest part of the patties registers 165 degrees.

While the burgers cook, spread the cut sides of the kaiser rolls with butter and lightly toast them on the medium side of the grill. Add the toasted slivered almonds and black sesame seeds to the slaw and mix well. Transfer the toasted rolls to a large platter and spread an equal amount of the duck plum sauce on each of the roll bottoms. Lay down 5 fresh basil leaves on each roll bottom and set one cooked patty on top. Place an equal amount of slaw on top of each patty and secure the roll tops with a wooden skewer.

Comments 

This burger looks as great as it tastes. I prefer to cut them in half before serving so that my guests can see how pretty the inside of the patty looks with the white chicken center and the juicy, duck sausage outer layer. Yes, I guess the duck, pancetta and chicken could all be combined before cooking, but you'd really be missing out on both a beautiful presentation and the uniqueness of all the flavors. When you take a bite from the outer edge, the savory duck sausage is highlighted. When taking a bite from the center you can appreciate the ginger, chive and coriander in the chicken. The plum sauce, fresh basil and the Dijon and dried cherry Napa cabbage slaw bring everything together in a sweet/sour, crunchy, juicy, satisfying bite.

Geez...I guess I like this burger!