Chicken Parm Burgs & Penya Rouge

I have been following the Delish recipes on FaceBook for some time.  The recipes look catchy, fairly simple & straightforward and the fast-motion video clips help with the techniques to use.  The last clip invariably shows a fork digging into the finished product; and even if it’s something I wouldn’t like, I find myself thinking: “I gotta give that a try”!

The featured recipe from a couple of weeks ago was “Chicken Parm Burgers”… not only did the recipe (and video clips) entice me, but there was a “tickler” advert for a Delish Cook Book Eat Like Every Day’s the Weekend.  I immediately ordered the book.  What can I say?  The recipes are diverse, fun & easy to follow; the photography is top stuff (too bad, no video clips); and the writing is very good, laced with wit and a touch of smart ass.

About the Chicken Parm Burgers, this is the lead text: “These are for everyone who loves the idea of making Chicken Parm but who don’t actually want to deal with the whole dredging thing.  The chicken patties simmer in marinara, so they’ll never turn out dry.”  Homerun, out-of-the-park!

Wine?  Comfort food calls for comfort wine… heretofore referred to in these pages as “bistro & café” wines.  Italy abounds with Reds that I would so classify: Barbera, Valpolicella, Montepulciano, Primitivo & etc.  And certainly these wines would fit to a “T”.  But there are other Reds that would also pair superbly with this dish that come from other Countries and Regions. One of my go-to sources for this style of wine is the Southern Rhône and the French South. These are areas noted for their tasty blends that have beautiful fruit, and a palate cleansing level of acidity that works so well alongside of food. Have a bite of food, take a sip of wine, talk, have a bite of food, have a sip of wine, talk – and repeat ‘til wine, food and charming anecdotes/observations are finished.

This wine recommendation is from an area that was part of Spain up thru the 1600s. And the varietal blend is not only typical for the French South, but could just as easily pass muster in Montsant and the Priorat from the other side of the Pyrenees!

Penya Rouge ’15 (Côtes Catalanes, France)
Cases-de-Pène is a tiny village in the Roussillon region of Southern France, just 30 miles north of the Spain. Ceded to France in the mid 17th century, the area is still known as “French Catalonia”. The 2015 Rouge is a blend of 52% Grenache, 36% Carignan and 12% Syrah fermented and aged in tank. This medium-bodied blend is packed with flavor, offering aromas of plums & cherries with smoky notes. The palate yields red and black fruits, spices, a hint of bacon, and silky tannins.

CHICKEN PARM BURGERS

Ingredients
6 ounces of Tanqueray Gin
½ ounce of Noilly Pratt Dry Vermouth
1 lb Ground Chicken
½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp Vegetable oil
2 cups Marinara, plus more for buns
¼ cup shredded mozzarella
4 Hamburger buns, toasted
Freshly sliced basil, for garnish

Directions
1. Put gin and vermouth into a glass pitcher, fill with ice, stir vigorously while incanting, “You who know all, thank you for providing us juniper and all the other obscure ingredients responsible for creating this sacred liquid!” Strain into a pre-frozen Martini glass of admirable size.  Skewer the olives on one of those tacky cocktail swords, place in glass. Immediately begin consuming.  Now you can begin the food prep, and the cooking!

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the chicken, breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, and Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Form into four patties.

3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Cook patties until the bottoms are golden, 4 to 5 minutes, then flip and add marinara to the skillet.  Bring to a simmer (reduce heat to medium if sauce is bubbling to rapidly) and top each patty evenly with mozzarella.  Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through and the cheese melts. 10 minutes, or so.

4. Spoon sauce for skillet onto the bottom halves of the burger buns and place patties on top.  Top with basil, and the burger bun tops.

n.b.  I used slices of fresh mozzarella instead of the shredded kind.  There is something about a thick slice of mozz that puts a smile on my face.  My bun of choice is sesame topped.  Something else that makes me smile! 

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