RECIPES: Recipe Details
A combination of local ingredients, customs and loving where I live is why my alternative burger is a great local American burger. Raising chickens as a hobby, which I have done and forging wild mushrooms in the woods of northern Wisconsin is commonplace. My burger is made with ground chicken thighs and topped with glazed wild cremini and oyster mushrooms and Wisconsin cheese. The glaze is made with butter, olive oil, vinegar, garlic and Worcestershire sauce, a pantry staple in our area. My heritage said to go Italian so I added arugala and focaccia bread to close the burger.
2 lbs. fresh ground skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/2 cup finely minced green onion-use some green top
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dry rubbed sage
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground fresh black peppercorns
Glazed Wild Mushrooms:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
6-ounces fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/3-inch thick
6-ounces fresh oyster mushrooms, stems removed sliced 1/3-inch thick
3 to 4 grinds fresh ground black peppercorns
cooking oil to brush grill rack
1-1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
6 tablespoons butter, softened
6 (4-1/2 inch) squares focaccia, halved horizontally
24 baby arugula leaves
To prepare patties, in a large bowl combine chicken, onion, garlic, thyme and sage. Form mixture into 6 patties equal in size and indent center of patties, using your thumb. Refrigerate patties until needed. Set salt and peppercorns aside until later.
Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat or prepare a charcoal grill to medium-hot heat.
Once grill heat is reached place a large cast iron skillet on grill rack; heat skillet to hot. Add olive oil and butter and when butter has melted, add garlic and stir until garlic is golden. Add Worcestershire sauce and vinegar to skillet; stir together. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Set skillet off heat and season with ground peppercorns.
Brush grill rack with cooking oil-be generous. Retrieve patties and season with salt and peppercorns. Place patties on grill rack and cook covered 6 to 7 minutes or until nicely browned on one side. Turn patties; cover and cook until juices run clear from center of patties or to desired doneness. During the final minutes of cooking patties, place skillet with mushrooms adjacent patties on grill rack. Stir mushrooms until warm then spoon mushrooms over patties. Top patties with cheese and cover grill. Remove patties once cheese has melted. Spread butter over cut side of focaccia squares and place butter side down on grill rack. Toast until golden.
To assemble, place 4 baby arugula leaves over grilled side of a focaccia square and top with a burger. Cover burger with a focaccia square, toasted side down.
Comments: Since wild mushrooms are not available to everyone and are seasonal, I used cremini and oyster mushrooms. Remove stems from only oyster mushrooms. To stay with local products, I used Wisconsin butter and Wisconsin cheese.