Chicken Gyro Burgers with Peppercorn Ranch and French Bread Buns

#RecipeUpTop (details to follow):

For they gyro-style chicken:

  • 500 grams ground chicken (dark meat, with skin, preferably home-ground);
  • 1 egg;
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs;
  • 10 grams salt;
  • Rosemary (to taste);
  • Thyme (to taste);
  • Black pepper (freshly cracked) (to taste);
  • Fennel seed (to taste) (optional);

Method: combine the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, cooking a small amount to test for seasoning. Adjust, then press into a foil-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for an hour. Divide into square patties and griddle or grill until 165F internal. Serve as desired.

For the ranch:

  • 2 cups sour cream;
  • 2 tablespoons mayo;
  • Parsley flakes (to taste);
  • Salt (to taste);
  • Sugar (to taste);
  • Cider vinegar (to taste);
  • Onion powder (to taste);
  • Garlic powder (to taste);

Method: Combine the sour cream and mayo, then eyeball the other ingredients and combine as well. Taste and adjust. Thin (if needed) with water, and perform a final tasting and flavor correction.

The Details

Alright folks, this is a change-up. I love gyros, I love burgers, and I have a lot of ground chicken around, so this is the culmination of all of that.

These burgers can be grilled, but I actually think they perform best with griddle or skillet flat-top cooking, which makes them perfect for the winter.

Step one: get your ground chicken. For us, this means home-ground which has a great fat content (80-20). If you’re using something like store-ground turkey… don’t. Worst case, get some boneless, SKIN-ON thighs, cut them into chunks, and blast them through the food processor until you get a paste. The end texture will be different, but it’ll still beat ground turkey:

Next up, grind up your spices. I use a mortar and pestle for this because I like the texture, and frankly, I kind of like the process. Of note: if you’re electing to use fennel seed, go easy. It has a strong flavor that will want to take over the whole party and play it’s own jams over the PA:

Get the seasonings into the chicken with the egg and breadcrumbs, and thoroughly combine. I use a stand mixer for this with the paddle attachment, but I’ve also done it with my hands with equal success.

Once it’s well-combined, grab a small piece and fry it up to taste for seasoning adjustment. Correct based on your taste, and move on.

From here, get a baking sheet and line it with foil, then press your chicken mixture into a single layer about the depth of a pop-tart:

Unless you’re tripling this recipe, you’re going to have some empty space on the baking sheet. That’s fine, I just pick a corner and work from there. All we’re trying to do is get a consistent end-game patty, while allowing the mixture some time to firm up.

Also, as to the foil, I’ve seen a lot of slider/burger recipes that use parchment instead. That’s fine, but I specifically use foil because… well, I have kids, and life comes at you fast. In a pinch, this can go right in a hot oven and roast as one big unit. Not so with parchment.

Once you have your meat in shape, cover and get it into the fridge for an hour. This will let the flavors of the herbs, spices and seasonings get into the nooks and crannies, and also will make this whole thing easier to work with as it tightens up.

After its time in lockdown, you can use the foil to lift it directly onto a poultry-designated cutting board:

From here, cut it into your desired patty size. Also, if this gets a little sticky, you can always just form them by hand as well. This isn’t a sculpture contest:

Okay, time to cook. Get your griddle or skillet or whatever you’re using up to medium temp, and add THE SMALLEST AMOUNT OF OIL IN THE WORLD to keep them from sticking. Since this is chicken, we need it to cook through completely, and that means we can’t just go bananas on the heat. Due to the breadcrumbs, we’ll have good moisture retention (as the juices leave the chicken, the breadcrumbs will grab them and hold on), which means you can cook this through, then give it a second shot of heat if need-be for a crispy crust. That said, if you do it right you won’t need to:

Temp it with a probe thermometer to make sure the middle hits 165F, then serve on a homemade French-bread bun with some… oh wait, I forgot the ranch.

Okay, this is about as simple as it gets: combine your mayo with your sour cream, then season the daylights out of it with the listed ingredients, tasting as you go. My ranch recipe is different from a lot of others in that I use cider vinegar instead of buttermilk (which lets me control the consistency and tang much better), and I use a lot of sour cream versus mayo, which I think adds some natural zing and brightness, and I think just tastes better. Lastly, I barely crack the peppercorns in the mortar and pestle, but you need to let them sit and soften in the dressing for at least an hour, otherwise they’ll be crunchy and distracting:

Cracked peppercorns
Finished product

If this ranch situation seems like I’m throwing you out to sea, take a look at our salad dressing post which talks about adjusting to your personal tastes. You can do this, I know it, and it’ll be the best ranch you’ve ever had.

Okay, so we have chicken gyro burgers, we have our sauce, we have our French bread… buns… sigh. Okay, it’s my French bread recipe, but with the following modifications:

I cut the recipe in half (so 500g bread flour total), then divided that into four buns. I rolled them into balls, and gave them a good press to flatten them out:

Otherwise, it’s the same recipe. Results:

Okay, buns, sauce, burgers… let’s ride. For these, I like red onion and ripe, red tomato, and some easy green lettuce. They fit the gyro seasoning, and work with the ranch. Get it built:

Burgers and cards. Happy Saturday, everyone.

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