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Olé Molé Chicken Burgers With Pepita Pesto and Tomatillo Slaw

I am originally French Canadian but I've lived in Europe and all over America. Living now in New Mexico, I have fallen in love with the earthy and richly regional flavors of this state. New Mexican cuisine is deeply rooted in 4 centuries and 4 cultures – Native Americans, Mexicans, Spaniards, and Anglos – and all blended into a harmonious whole. This burger is New Mexico on a bun !!


Pepita Pesto:
1/3 cup salted pepita (pumpkin) seeds
1 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup Mexican crumbled queso fresco cheese (can substitute plain feta)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Tomatillo Slaw:
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon each, salt and pepper
2 medium tomatillos (about 1-1/2-inch in diameter), husked, cored, and finely diced
1/4 cup diced ripe mango
1/2 cup bagged coleslaw mix
1 jalapeno pepper, diced and seeded
2 tablespoons diced red onion

2 pounds ground chicken
3/4 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
1/3 cup smoky or mesquite BBQ sauce
3 tablespoons dark raisins
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano leaves
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 slices Monterey Jack cheese
6 rustic artisan rolls or hearty hamburger rolls, such as mini ciabatta, or sesame kaiser,
split and brushed with olive oil or butter


Preheat gas grill to medium-high. Place small cast iron skillet on hottest part of grill. Place pumpkin seeds in skillet; stirring frequently until toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool slightly; placing in small bowl with remaining Pepita Pesto ingredients. With hand held blender, puree until smooth. Set aside. For Tomatillo Slaw; in medium bowl combine sour cream with lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir in remaining Tomatillo Slaw ingredients. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, place ground chicken, tortilla chips, BBQ sauce, raisins, cocoa powder, oregano, ancho chile powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Gently combine, without over mixing, until evenly incorporated. Form into 6 (4-inch) burgers, about 1-inch thick. Oil the grill rack and grill burgers until thoroughly cooked and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 165º F, about 6 minutes per side. Top with cheese; grill until melted, about 1 minute longer. Grill cut sides of rolls on outside edges of grill until lightly toasted, about 1 minute.
To assemble burger, spread Pepita Pesto on roll bottom. Top with burger, Tomatillo Slaw and roll tops. Serves 6.