Recently I saw a cute quote that went something along the lines of; “Friends don’t care how clean your house is, they just care that you have wine.” The gist of it is, a lot of us fuss and stress over hosting dinner or having guests over, and it’s so unnecessary. The whole point is to enjoy good company over good food. So if you are trying to pull off an elaborate dinner that keeps you in the kitchen and away from your company, the purpose is sort of defeated.
I like to take a more relaxed approach to entertaining. I cut down on stress by sticking to tried-and-true recipes. Now is not the time to try something new, because who knows how it’ll turn out. I also keep things simple. Julia Child wrote about the confidence it takes to serve your guests a simple roast chicken, and how that self-assurance is impressive on it’s own. I totally agree. I also think that if the food tastes good, nobody is going to complain or judge you if it also happens to be something simple and casual.
These chicken burgers are a great example of casual entertaining. I’ve served them to guests many times, including at last year’s Mother’s Day lunch with my parents. They’ve always been a hit, and as such, I’m going to keep on making them. Just think how lovely it would be if someone served you a juicy, delicious, homemade burger the next time you went to a dinner party. Yes please!
As with many of my other recipes, I cook these in the oven to cut down on active cooking time. That way, I can prep the patties in advance and refrigerate them, then just pop them in the oven about 20 minutes before we are ready to eat. At that point I go right back to relaxing with my guests rather than being tied up in the kitchen, flipping burgers on the stove. All you need to round things out are a few yummy salads, also prepped ahead of time. If you really want to make it a little extra special, toss some thinly sliced potatoes with oil, salt, and pepper, and put these in the oven a few minutes ahead of the burgers.
(Serves 6) Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp Garham Masala
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 lb ground chicken or turkey
Sauce (The sauce absolutely is the star here, don’t skip it!)
- 3/4 cups plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup mint, minced
- 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
- 1/4 cucumber, finely diced
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 6 Hamburger buns
- Toppings of choice: Cucumbers, pickles, red onions, lettuce, avocado, etc.
- Preheat the oven to 400. (If you preparing the burgers in advance, skip this step and just preheat the oven when it’s time to cook them)
- Using your hands, gently mix the burger ingredients in a bowl until just combined. Form into 6 patties, placing each patty on a parchment lined baking sheet. Press down on the patties with your hand to flatten them. They will puff up in the oven, so make them a bit flatter than you actually want them to end up being. (If you are making them ahead, cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate the burgers until ready to cook, up to 24 hours.)
- Bake the burgers at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until cooked through, flipping them after ten minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by stirring all ingredients together in a small bowl. Toast your buns.
- When the burgers are ready, serve on toasted buns with the sauce and any other toppings of your choice.