Three Cup Chicken Burgers with Chinese Sour Pickles and Five Spice Mayonnaise

Pairs well with:

Chenin Blanc

This wine is bursting with crisp, refreshing fruit flavors like apple, pear, and melon, making you want to swing your legs off a dock at sunset.


Chinese Sour Pickles:
1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 large garlic cloves, quartered
1 English cucumber, sliced very thin (about 1/16 inch thick)
12 thin slices of sweet yellow onion (about 1/8 inch thick)

1 pound ground chicken breast
1-1/2 pounds ground chicken thighs
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons Shaoshing rice wine or pale dry sherry
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
6 garlic cloves, pressed or very finely minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup finely chopped fresh sweet basil leaves

olive oil cooking spray

Five Spice Mayonnaise:
6 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise
1-1/2 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder

Olive oil (for brushing on rack)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
6 good-quality sesame seed buns, split


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the pickles: Combine the rice vinegar, water, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and garlic in a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Add the sliced cucumber and onion, place lid on jar and close tightly, then place in refrigerator for at least one hour.

To make the patties: Combine the ground chicken breast and ground chicken thighs in a large bowl. With your hands, mix together until blended thoroughly. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine (or sherry), red pepper flakes, ginger, garlic, brown sugar and basil. Stir together thoroughly, then pour into bowl with the ground chicken. Blend the mixture in with the chicken using a large fork, making sure the marinade is evenly distributed throughout the chicken. Cover bowl of chicken with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Cut or tear six pieces of wax paper into squares approximately six inches square. Place wax paper squares on a large cookie sheet, and spray squares lightly with cooking spray. Remove bowl of chicken from refrigerator, and divide meat into six equal portions. With wet hands, gently form into patties, and place each patty on a wax paper square (the chicken mixture will be VERY moist). Cover burgers with a sheet of wax paper and place in refrigerator until ready to grill.

To make the spiced mayonnaise: Combine mayonnaise and five spice powder in a small bowl, and stir until thoroughly blended. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until burgers are grilled.

To grill patties: Remove patties from refrigerator. Brush the grill rack with olive oil. Slide a burger patty with wax paper from cookie sheet onto palm of hand. Flip patty over onto grill, and gently remove wax paper from top. Repeat with all the patties. Sprinkle half of the salt onto the burgers. Close the grill lid, and grill for six minutes. Open grill lid, flip burgers over, and sprinkle with remaining salt. Close lid and grill for an additional six minutes.

During the last minute of cooking, place bun tops and bottoms, cut side down, on edges of grill rack, and toast lightly. Remove burgers and buns when done and set aside to assemble.

To assemble the burgers: Remove pickles and mayonnaise mixture from refrigerator. Place burger patties on top of the bun bottoms. Top patties with a generous amount of the pickle mixture (about 8-10 cucumber slices, and 2 onion slices). Spread a heaping tablespoon of spiced mayonnaise on the cut side of each bun top. Place bun tops on top of pickles and patties, and serve.

Makes 6 burgers.