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Chicken and the Sea Burgers with Feisty Fruit Sauce

Crunchy and creamy textures are melded with sweet and spicy flavors for a combination that will tantilize -- and satisfy -- your palate. Discovering a tangy filling inside the burger adds an element of surprise!


2 oz roasted-garlic goat cheese room temperature
1 6-oz can lump crabmeat, rinsed, drained and chopped
6 T butter, room temperature
2 large scallions, sliced thin, both greens and whites
1/2 cup canned water chestnuts, drained and chopped fine
1 T dried crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 pounds ground chicken 
1/2 cup Hot Mango Chutney 
1/2 green Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, chopped fine
Zest of 1 lime
2 T mayonnaise
6 large croissants, sliced (choose rounded ones if available)
18 leaves escarole, rinsed and patted dry


For stuffing: Place goat cheese in a small mixture bowl and cream until smooth. Add crab and stir until combined thoroughly. Divide mixture into 6 equal portions and form into balls. Flatten each ball between your palms to shape into a 2 1/2-inch disk. Wrap in plastic or place in a covered container and refrigerate. For chicken patties: Place butter in a medium mixing bowl and cream until smooth. Add scallions, water chestnuts, crushed red pepper, garlic, sea salt and black pepper. Stir until blended thoroughly. Place ground chicken in bowl, and incorporate butter mixture into meat by blending lightly but thoroughly with your fingers. Divide contents of bowl in half. Assembly: Line a baking pan with waxed paper. Separate one of the halves of the chicken blend into six portions, spreading each one evenly (the mixture is soft) into a round or slightly elongated patty shape, as needed to conform to the croissants, on the waxed paper. Removed the crab-goat cheese disks from the refrigerator and place one on the center of each chicken patty. Split the remaining half of the chicken mixture into 6 equal portions, placing one on top of each patty. Pat smooth and knead edges to seal the filling inside the burgers. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour. Fruit sauce: Place hot mango chutney in a small mixing bowl and add apple, lime zest and mayonnaise. Stir until combined, then cover and refrigerate until burgers are cooked. Cooking: Preheat gas grill to medium, then place the croissants, cut side down, on the grates. Grill for about 2 1/2 minutes until lightly browned, then turn them over and continue grilling 1 minute to toast the outsides. Remove croissants from grill and set aside, uncovered, until burgers are ready to serve. Increase heat to medium-high. When desired temperature is reached, place the burgers on the grill, cover, and cook for 4 minutes. Turn over and continue cooking, uncovered, 4 more minutes or until well-browned. Line the bottom half of each croissant with 3 escarole leaves and top with a burger. Spoon about 2 1/2 tablespoons of chutney sauce over each burger and cover with top halves of croissants. Serve at once.


To create a firmer croissant, they must be grilled prior to the burgers. If served immediately after grilling, the steamy croissants will be soft and limp. Because of the buttery nature of croissants and the presence of butter in the burgers, I did not have to oil the grill to prevent sticking. The bold spice level should appeal to the increasingly more adventurous tastes of the American people. Ingredients were chosed for an optimal range of textures and tastes, rather than adhering to a single type of ethnic cuisine for inspiration. This was a pleasurable cooking experience -- even if I don't capture the Alternate Burger prize, this recipe has made a lot of my friends happy! Thanks!