RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Huli Huli Chicken Burgers

Tired of the same old bottled barbecue sauces flavored with liquid smoke, I recently
went in search of something with more oomph, pizzazz and “real” flavors to baste onto grilled chicken. I came across a recipe for Huli Huli chicken. Meaning “turn-turn”,
Huli Huli is a tomato-based Hawaiian barbecue sauce that is typically flavored with
soy, ginger, and citrus. As expected, the sauce is great on plain chicken, but it
is exceptional when mixed into and basted onto sizzling chicken patties. Add a
luscious coconut-cheese spread and pineapple matchsticks and you’ve got a Luau in the
making. Aloha, and enjoy!

Ingredients 

Pineapple Matchsticks:
2 cups fresh, peeled and cored pineapple matchsticks (cut thickly, about 2 to 3 inches long)
1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Coco-Mayo Cheese Spread:
3 Tablespoons unsweetened, finely shredded coconut
5 ounces mild tasting, soft, fresh goat cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons coarsely chopped roasted and lightly salted macadamia nuts
Huli Huli Sauce:
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup traditional Japanese teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup Sutter Home Gewurtztraminer
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh garlic
2 teaspoons honey
Patties:
2 pounds ground chicken, half white meat, half dark meat
1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 Tablespoons reserved Huli Huli Sauce
vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack and patties
6 Hawaiian Sweet Sandwich Rolls or soft hamburger buns, split

Instructions 

Prepare a medium-hot charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the pineapple matchsticks, in a large bowl gently combine the pineapple,
cilantro and sesame oil. Refrigerate until serving.

To make the Coco-Mayo Cheese Spread, place the coconut in a small, fire-proof,
nonstick skillet and place on the grill rack. Cook, stirring frequently, for 6 to 9
minutes or just until coconut begins to turn golden (this time will vary based on how
powerful your grill is-- watch the coconut very carefully so it doesn’t burn). Remove
from heat and place in a medium bowl to cool slightly. Add to the coconut the goat
cheese, mayonnaise, and macadamia nuts and stir to blend. Cover and refrigerate until
serving.

To make the Huli Huli sauce, in a medium bowl whisk together the tomato paste,
teriyaki sauce, wine, lemon juice, ginger, garlic and honey. Set aside.

To make the patties, in a large bowl combine the chicken, salt, ginger, cilantro and
2 Tablespoons Huli Huli sauce, handling as little as possible. Form into 6 patties
sized to fit the rolls. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes or
until ready to grill.

With the grill still at medium-hot or medium-high heat, brush the grill rack with the
vegetable oil. Lightly brush both sides of the patties with the vegetable oil. Place
the patties on the rack, cover, and cook for 8 minutes total or until juices run
clear when pierced with a knife, turning occasionally and basting cooked sides with
the Huli-Huli sauce. During the last few minutes of patties cooking, place rolls cut
sides down on the outer edges of the grill rack to lightly toast. To assemble the burgers, onto the roll bottoms spread equal amounts of the cheese
spread. Top each with a patty, an equal amount of the pineapple matchsticks and the
roll tops.

Comments 

The pineapple matchsticks are made most easily when using the firmer, innermost
sections of the pineapple (as opposed to the super-tender outermost sections closest
to the skin, which have a tendency to fall apart). Remove the core of the pineapple
and cut somewhat chunky matchsticks from the pineapple flesh that was closest to the core.

While the cheese spread sounds rich, it is the perfect balance for the light taste of
the burgers and the sweetness of the pineapple.