These Greek-inspired chicken burgers were juicy and flavor-packed. They were relatively healthy too! We ate them on Memorial Day with corn and potato salad on the side. Delicious.
This recipe was loosely adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Sue Li. I used freshly ground chicken thighs, added feta, and modified the proportions and method. The original recipe notes that in order to keep the burgers moist, it is important that the meat isn’t packed too tightly. I think that the exorbitant amount of spinach also kept the burgers moist.
My entire family looks forward to my husband’s birthday feast. It typically involves a lot of comfort food like fried chicken and macaroni and cheese. 🙂 We always have his favorite Vanilla Bean Cheesecake as our celebratory dessert.
When my food blog friend Jess@Cooking is My Sport posted Cornmeal Sage Chicken Biscuits, I knew that my husband would absolutely love them. My first thought was to serve them on Valentine’s Day but then I realized that they would be perfect for his birthday dinner. Jess is an amazing cook and baker but most of all I must say that she is a complete master of biscuits. I learned many new techniques from her post in order to make biscuits thick enough to create a sandwich. Flaky and amazing! I also loved that she incorporated cornmeal in both the biscuits and the seasoned flour that is used to coat the fried chicken. This recipe also made all of us fans of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute.
I served these fried chicken biscuits with classic macaroni and cheese and green salad dressed with Icebox Buttermilk Dressing. The chicken biscuit recipe was adapted from CookingisMySport.com. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, modified the proportions, cut the biscuits into squares, and omitted the topping. My daughter declared it was the best birthday feast ever. 🙂
Yield: Serves 12 to 14
For the Cornmeal & Sage Biscuits:
Yield: approximately 14 2-inch biscuits
5 cups all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tsp coarse salt
2 T baking powder
2 tsp ground sage
1 T savory spice mix (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, frozen
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 to 2 cups buttermilk, plus more if necessary
For the Fried Chicken Thighs:
Yield: about 16 to 18 pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
4 tsp baking powder
4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 heaping tsp savory spice mix (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cups buttermilk
8 to 9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds), trimmed, halved crosswise, patted dry
8 cups vegetable oil
hot sauce, for serving, optional (we used Chipotle Cholula)
bread and butter pickles, for serving, optional
To Make the Cornmeal & Sage Biscuits:
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, coarse salt, baking powder, sugar, ground sage and the seasoning mix.
Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the butter directly into the dry ingredients; stir with a fork.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; add the sour cream. Using a fork, incorporated it into the dry ingredients until it forms thick clumps.
Make another well in the center of the dry ingredients; add the buttermilk. Use a large fork and a large rubber spatula to stir the mixture together. If it seems a little dry you may add the additional buttermilk, just until it forms a shaggy dough. (I added 1 3/4 cups of buttermilk.)
Sprinkle a pastry mat, wooden cutting board, or a clean, smooth countertop with flour. (I used a silpat baking mat.)
Turn the dough out onto the floured surface and pat a few times with your hands until it loosely holds together. (Don’t knead it too much or the warmth in your palms will melt the butter and cause the biscuits to be tough.)
Use a bench scraper (or a large sharp knife) to divide the dough in half. Roughly shape each half into a square.
Stack one of the halves on top of the other and use a rolling pin to roll it together into one mass. Repeat this process 4-5 more times before patting it into one final rectangle. (This is a process of layering so that the biscuits will bake flaky.) (I formed a 9×7-inch rectangle, about 2-inches thick.)
Tightly wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 425°. (I set my oven to convection.) Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven.
Sprinkle your work surface with flour and unwrap the biscuit dough out onto it.
Using a bench scraper (or very sharp knife), trim the edges of the rectangle. (I trimmed it to form a 6×8-inch rectangle.)
Using a biscuit cutter or a knife, cut the dough into rounds or squares about 2″ each. You can recut the leftover dough into new biscuits, just try not to handle it too much. (I cut my dough into 12 2-inch squares and reformed the trimmed edges into 2 additional 2-inch squares.)
Place the cut biscuits on the parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet, placing them close to each other (it will help them rise higher).
Place the tray into the freezer for about 15 minutes.
Spray the top of the biscuits with cooking spray.
Bake until golden brown, 15 to 22 minutes, covering them with foil if they brown too quickly. (I baked mine for 22 minutes total, covering them with foil after 20 minutes.)
To Make the Fried Chicken Thighs:
Line a rimmed baking sheet with wax paper, foil, or plastic wrap on the bottom; place a wire rack on top.
Line a second rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels; place a wire rack on top.
Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, cayenne, spice mix, salt, and black pepper in a bowl.
Pour buttermilk into a separate bowl.
Working with one piece at a time, toss chicken in flour mixture, dip in buttermilk, then toss again in flour mixture. Transfer to the wire rack over the wax paper/foil/plastic wrap-lined baking sheet to allow batter to set, about 2-3 minutes.
Repeat dipping process until all of the chicken is double-coated.
Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees. (I used a large stainless steel Dutch oven fitted with a thermometer. I found it much easier to control the temperature of the oil in this pot versus using a cast iron skillet as I have in the past.)
Working in batches of no more than 3 or 4 pieces at a time, use tongs to place the chicken in the hot oil. Using a slotted spoon, turn it occasionally and cook until each piece is golden brown on both sides, about 2-4 minutes per side. (I tried to cook pieces similar in size at the same time.)
Using a slotted spoon or clean tongs, remove chicken to the wire rack over the paper towel-lined sheet pan. At this point, use an instant read thermometer to confirm that the chicken is cooked, having an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
To assemble: Split a biscuit in half (it will have a natural breaking point) and assemble the sandwich with chicken topped with pickles, as desired. Serve with hot sauce to pass at the table, as desired.
Much to my husband’s displeasure, another birthday tradition is to document the many seasonal feathered visitors who arrive to celebrate with us. Like clockwork, the night heron arrived on his birthday morning while I was making pancakes. 🙂
Classic butter cookies are my husband’s absolute favorite, so I had to try this vanilla bean version. He loved them! They are dangerously easy to make too.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used the ground cinnamon option, varied the shapes, and topped the cookies with festive colored sugars prior to baking.
Because the cookies are quite fragile, the original recipe suggests making them into sandwich cookies, filled with chocolate, Nutella, or thick jam, to increase their stability for shipping. We ate them as is!
I have made these wonderful rolls on numerous occasions. I love that they can be prepared from start to finish in an hour or two. We have eaten them as dinner rolls and as sandwich rolls.
This recipe was adapted from HeartsContentFarmhouse.com. I weighed the ingredients, and used a stand mixer and warming drawer. Similar to Portuguese rolls, these have also become a family favorite.
Yield: 8 rolls
7 oz of thick liquid pourable starter (1 1/4 cups)
13 oz white bread flour (2 1/2 cups to 3 cups)
6.5 oz of water (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon of yeast
Combine the starter, flour, water, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir to combine. The mixture should be a slightly sticky dough.
Cover and allow to rest for about 20-40 minutes. (I put the covered bowl in a warming drawer for 20 minutes.)
Add the salt and yeast on top of the dough, and transfer it to whatever you are using to knead. For a stand mixer, use the dough hook and set it on low for about 5 to 7 minutes. If kneading by hand, knead for about 10 minutes (with a 5 minute rest halfway) without adding any additional flour. ( If using a bread machine, set it on the dough cycle.)
Check the consistency of the dough after a few minutes of kneading. It may seem sticky, but should clear the sides of the bowl. If it seems very wet, add more flour a few tablespoons at a time.
When the dough is kneaded, cover it and put in in a warm place to rise between 40-90 minutes. (If using the bread machine, let it complete the cycle and leave it in the machine a bit longer.)
When the dough has completed its first rise, dump it onto the counter or a cutting board. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper dusted with cornmeal.
Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. I use a scale and aim for a tad over 3 ounces for each.
Shape the pieces into rolls by pinching the bottoms. Place on the cornmeal dusted parchment.
Cover with heavily greased plastic wrap and allow to rise again at room temperature for 30-45 minutes. (I placed the baking sheet in a warming drawer for 45 minutes.)
Fifteen minutes prior to the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place one rack in the center, and one in the lower middle area. Place an empty baking sheet on the lower rack to get hot while the over heats.
Rub the top of each roll with flour. Slash, if desired, using kitchen shears, a lame, or sharp knife. Cover while the oven is preheating.
When the oven has heated and the rolls have risen, pour 1 cup of water on the hot baking sheet to create steam. (It may buckle.)
Place the rolls inside the oven and bake for 15-21 minutes, until browned outside and until the internal temperature reads 210 degrees on an instant thermometer. Cool on wire rack.
Compared to my last post, this is a more classic sourdough loaf. Like the other loaves, it has a great crumb and tender texture inside but this loaf has a crispy top crust and a more pronounced sourdough flavor.
This recipe is from Bob’s Red Mill. The original recipe states that it is ideal for all kinds of sandwiches, as well as toast, bread pudding and bread crumbs. We enjoyed it for wonderful sandwiches and toast, but making bread pudding with this beautiful loaf might need to happen in the future. 🙂
Yield: One 2-pound loaf
1 ¼ cups room temperature water, 75°F (10 fl oz)
2/3 cup active sourdough starter (6 1/2 oz)
3 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (1 lb)
1 T table salt or 4 tsp Kosher salt
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve water and starter.
Add flour and mix until a rough and shaggy dough forms, about 4 minutes (low-speed if using an electric mixer).
Cover with a towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
Add salt and mix until a slightly soft and elastic dough (which easily pulls away from the sides of the bowl) forms, 6–10 minutes by hand or about 2–4 minutes on medium speed with an electric mixer. To ensure proper gluten development, tear off a small piece of dough and stretch it as thin as possible; if a thin, transparent “window” is visible without any tearing, the dough is ready to proof.
Transfer dough to a large lightly oiled bowl, turning dough to coat all sides in oil. Cover with plastic and let rise in a warm place until puffy, about 30 minutes.
Punch down the center of the dough and fold all four sides into the center. Flip dough upside down, cover, and let rise again, another 30 minutes.
Repeat the punch and rise a total of four times (2 hours). The dough has properly proofed when a light push with a finger leaves an indentation that does not spring back.
Remove proofed dough from the bowl and place on a floured work surface. Gently stretch into a 10-inch rectangle. Fold the short ends of the dough to meet in the center. Fold the top of the dough to the center and lightly seal with fingertips. Fold the top of the dough to the bottom and seal with the heel of the hand, then gently roll into a 6-inch long cylinder. Cover and let rest 15–20 minutes.
Uncover the dough and turn the cylinder seam-side-up on a floured work surface. Press and gently stretch the dough to a 6-inch rectangle. Fold the top of the dough to the center and press with the fingertips to seal and tighten. Fold the top of the dough to the bottom and seal with the heel of the hand. Gently roll the dough into a tight and smooth 8-inch loaf.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled 8 x 4-inch loaf pan. Cover with plastic and proof until puffy and an indentation does not spring back, 30–40 minutes. (My final rise time was about 1 hour, just until the dough rose over the rim of the loaf pan.)
Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 450°F. Place a baking tray on the lowest rack of the oven and place a baking stone (if using) on the center rack. Make sure the oven (and baking stone) preheat for at least 30 minutes.
When the dough is ready to bake, gently score the top of the loaf with a few slashes using a lame, kitchen shears, razor blade, or very sharp knife.
Place the loaf pan on the preheated baking stone and pour 4 cups of water into the baking pan on the bottom rack. Quickly close the oven door and let bake at 450°F until browned on top, 35–45 minutes. To ensure doneness, gently remove the bread from the pan and tap the bottom of the loaf–a hollow sound should be audible. Using a probe thermometer, test for a final interior temperature of 200–210°F.
I have two sourdough sandwich loaves to share. This recipe makes two tender and delicious loaves, absolutely perfect for sandwiches. The inclusion of dry milk and butter resulted in a prolonged storage time compared to typical sourdough loaf. It sliced very easily as well.
This recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour. The levain is prepared the night before making the dough. The dough also incorporates instant yeast to expedite the rising times.
Yield: Two 8-inch loaves
For the Levain:
1 cup + 1 tablespoon (128g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (128g) cool water (60° to 70°F)
3 tablespoons (44g) ripe (fed) sourdough starter
For the Dough:
5 1/4 cups (631g) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*
scant 6 tablespoons (50g) nonfat dry milk
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons, 57g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups (340g) water (70° to 80°F)
all of the ripe levain
To Make the Levain:
Mix all of the levain ingredients together and place in a covered container with room for the levain to grow. It will almost double in size, and will take about 12 hours to ripen (ferment) at room temperature (70°F). When perfectly ripened, there’ll be large bubbles (mostly below the surface) creating a somewhat rippled effect. It’ll appear almost fluffy. If the levain is covered with a froth of tiny bubbles, it’s a bit over-ripened; but don’t worry, you can still use it.
To Make the Dough:
Mix and then knead together all of the dough ingredients, including the levain, to make a smooth, supple, and not overly sticky dough. (I used a stand mixer.)
Place the kneaded dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 1 to 2 hours, until doubled in size. (I used a proofing oven.)
Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into 8″ logs. (I used a scale to divide the dough evenly, about 710 grams per loaf.)
Place the logs, seam side down, in two lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ bread pans. (9″ x 5″ pans will also work)
Cover the pans with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let the loaves rise until they’ve crowned about 1″ over the rim of the pan, about 45 minutes to 1 hour (or up to 2 hours). (I used a proofing oven.)
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.
Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the sides of the loaf feel firm.
Remove the loaves from the oven, and turn them out of the pans onto a rack to cool. Let them cool completely before slicing.
*All-purpose flour will produce a somewhat stickier dough.
Note: To prevent a wrinkled top surface: Slash the top of the loaf several times before baking, much as you would a baguette. This helps release the steam that gathers under the crust, which can produce wrinkles as the baked loaf cools.
This is a great summer meal. We have already tried a couple versions!
The first time I served this meal, I shredded grilled chicken thighs and dressed them with Trader Joe’s mustard barbecue sauce. We topped them with the quick dill pickles (below) and ate them as classic sandwiches.
The second time, I served the sandwiches in an open face fashion and we ate them with a knife and fork. I shredded a rotisserie chicken and dressed the meat with the tomato-based barbecue sauce (below) and topped them with my favorite Easy Fridge Dill Pickles.
This recipe was adapted from Sara Moulton.com. I used various barbecue sauces and pickles. I also served the sandwiches on slices of a Honey Beer Bread loaf. We ate the sandwiches with potato chips on one occasion and with homemade Curly Fries on the second occasion. Corn on the cob would also be great. The original recipe suggests serving them with cole slaw- next time!