Green Chile-Chicken Cheeseburgers

My good friend Sue has a little something simple but memorable she’s been saying for just about as long as I’ve known her, which is way over 40 years now. It’s this:

“Sometimes you just need a cheeseburger.

And it’s true, isn’t it? Even if you’re way past the age of running through drive-throughs late at night with your friends or have stopped putting burgers on your summer menus once a week because the kids are all gone now and fish is trending at your house. There are still days when nothing else will do except a cheeseburger. After you’re done reading and cooking here, I’m hoping it may be Alyce’s Green Chile-Chicken Cheeseburger you’re jonesing for if only because it’s chile time in the southwest –and hence nationwide, my friends. Whether you’re a local Pueblo, Colorado chile fan (these are actually Mosco Mirasol chiles) or a New Mexico Hatch chile aficionado (Hatch chiles are like spicy anaheims, though there are milder varieties), you’ll be happy you found a new use for your favorite late summer peppers roasted up to perfection.

17th Annual Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival: September 24-26, 2021/Union Avenue Historic District

Jump to Recipe
A typical summer blue cheeseburger at our house.

I love a ground beef burger maybe as much as anyone, but I’ve gotten to where I’ll eat just one or two a summer — and only if they’re made at home. That way, they’re cooked just the way I like them (not too done); are dressed perfectly (mustard, ketchup, onion, dill pickles, tomatoes, lettuce); have a freshly buttered and toasted bun, and most importantly, they’re HOT when I take that first bite. I will occasionally make a batch of Air Fryer fries to accompany said burger, because what’s a burger without fries? And that’s exactly why I only need the occasional indulgence. Please make sure I have lots of ketchup; thanks very much. If you’ve been around the blog very long, you may have heard this before:

Eat all the junk food you want - as long as you cook it yourself. That way, it'll be less junky, and you won't eat it every day because it's a lot of work.

Michael Pollan
AIR FRIED FRIES aren’t too much work: Preheat AF to 390 degrees F for 5 minutes. Spray basket with cooking spray. Toss 2 baking potatoes (russets) cut into wedges with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp each pepper and paprika, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, and 2 teaspoons olive oil. Air Fry 19 minutes, turning fries over or shaking Air Fryer basket once midway through cooking time. (I have a 6-quart Gourmia Air Fryer — just right for two people. Easy clean up, too. Can’t find a link for it, but here’s one for the 5-qt.)

This last year I’ve found myself with little burger dream-threads running in and out of my cooking mind for months at a time. Am I seeking comfort food given the anxious nature of current existence? (Burgers are many people’s favorite comfort food or favorite food period. I also grew up working in a family burger joint – Dog n Suds, so have even more of a connection. Yes, my first job, at age 11, was weighing portions of fries. Some things never change!) But these dreams are not beef burger dreams mind you, but are more like: Tuna. Turkey. Black Bean. Chick pea. Pork. Chicken. Salmon. Salmon burgers, you may recall, hit the blog during FRIDAY FISH last Lent. If you haven’t made them, I’m feeling sorry for you because they’re lovely made from lesser-expensive, easy-to-have-on-hand frozen salmon fillets. I cook these burgers in a skillet on the stove and they would be tasty right now while your garden or farmer’s market is still flush with basil:

Caprese Salmon Burgers

I digress, so on to the chicken burgers which have now been occasionally haunting me for months. Why didn’t I make them sooner and be happy? (I’ll admit I’ve never had a chicken burger anywhere before these and I know they’re popular on a lot of menus. What have I been doing all my life?!) I only knew they would contain one other ingredient for sure and it, as you gathered already, is the roasted green chile. When I went to make these puppies, I had to figure out what else was going into the meat mixture.

Ground lean chicken is bland, bland. I started thinking onion, garlic, bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, hot sauce, Cheddar, cilantro, jalapeño, salt, pepper… That was simply too much. Best to cut it down to the most needed, but easily available basics like s/p, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, finely grated Cheddar, and so on, which I soon did. And while the list appears lengthy still, most of these things are seasonings and easily managed. You will have to start about two hours ahead of dinner time (or even the night before), not because the burgers are difficult or time-consuming to make, but because once you’ve gotten the meat mixture together and formed the patties, they’ll need to rest in the fridge for an hour. It’s a tish inconvenient, but I promise you won’t be sorry because these chicken burgers are worth all sixty minutes of it. Try this:

The raw burgers need to rest an hour in the fridge to absorb the “panade,” which is a mixture of breadcrumbs and liquid (mayonnaise in this case). They’ll then hold together better while cooking, but you’ll still need to be careful cooking and turning these as they’re quite tender. Think about the breadcrumbs and egg or milk in a meatloaf–same idea.

Green Chile-Chicken Cheeseburgers

Start these yummy burgers almost two hours before you want to eat as they take a little while to make and the patties must rest in the refrigerator for an hour to firm up before cooking.
6 servings

Equipment

  • Heavy skillet or griddle or indoor or outdoor grill

Ingredients

  • ½ cup mayonnaise-plus more for serving
  • ¼ cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • Juice of one lime
  • 3 shakes hot sauce
  • 1 pound ground lean chicken
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 4 ounces (1/4 cup) chopped roasted green chiles
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño
  • 2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup EACH minced cilantro and red onion
  • 1/3 cup finely grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 smashed and minced garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • 6 slices each Pepper Jack and Cheddar cheeses
  • 6 sliced buns-buttered and grilled
  • Mashed avocado or guacamole, shredded cabbage/lettuce, sliced tomatoes for serving

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, mix the ½ cup mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, lime juice, and hot sauce. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, gently stir together the chicken, salt and pepper, chiles, jalapeño, red pepper, cilantro and red onion, grated Cheddar cheese, and garlic. Add the reserved mayonnaise mixture and stir together until just mixed. Do not overmix.
  • Form 6 (4-5 ounce) patties. Place on platter, cover, and refrigerate for an hour or up to overnight for burgers to absorb liquids and firm up. If still soft, consider freezing 5-10 minutes.
  • Heat heavy skillet, griddle, gas or charcoal grill to medium. Brush chilled patties well with olive oil, adding a tablespoon or two to the pan if cooking on the stove. Cook 4-5 minutes. Carefully turn, add cheeses, and cook another 4-5 minutes or until instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not overcook. Serve hot on grilled buns with your choice of mayonnaise, avocado or guacamole, shredded cabbage, and sliced tomatoes. Tasty sides: grilled corn or coleslaw or Air Fryer French Fries.

Notes

These burgers are plenty flavorful with a small kick, but are not spicy-hot. If you’d like more heat, double the jalapeño or add hot sauce to the smashed avocado/guacamole. Skip the jalapeño totally for less heat. The green chiles are usually fairly mild.
You can grill the buns before the burgers (easier) or even after you flip the burgers and add the cheese if you’re quick. Inspiration: NYT and The Kitchn.
Copyright Alyce Morgan, 2021. All rights reserved

IF YOU LIKE THIS, YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE MY:

Tequila White Chicken Chili

Southwestern Turkey Meatloaf

Chicken Meatloaf Marinara


TIPS:

Could be you’re only familiar with our famous southwest GREEN CHILE STEW (pork or beef), but we have a gazillion other ways to eat green chiles. Burgers smothered with green chile are a big favorite in New Mexico, for instance. Here at my house, in Colorado Springs, we’re fond of my Chile-Turkey Gravy on Cornmeal Cheddar Waffles (with a fried egg.) Scroll down to OTHER INFO for more ideas about using roasted green chiles.

Order chiles from HATCH CHILE EXPRESS

Yes, you can a few roast green chiles right over an open flame on your stove like I’m doing here. Don’t walk away, even for a minute, and use a long pair of tongs to turn them often. Larger amounts can be done in the oven or under a broiler or on a grill. (See links below under OTHER INFO:) Here in Colorado and also in New Mexico, we can purchase roasted chiles in large quantities on street corners or markets where farmers get the work done quickly using big roasting drums. Our grocery stores also sell frozen roasted chiles, though you can easily buy the canned version anywhere in the U.S. Canned chiles come in several sizes and are even available in a 4-ounce size perfect for my burgers.

CHANGE IT UP:

  • Swap in ground turkey for ground chicken.
  • Use plain yogurt in place of mayonnaise for the panade. (Lowers fat.)
  • Low carbing? Skip the buns and serve on a bed of lettuce.
  • Too much cheese? No need to use it all. (Lowers fat.)
  • Too spicy? Leave out the jalapeño.
  • No avocado? No problem. Pickles, sliced cucumbers or zucchini are good replacements. (Lowers fat.)

OTHER INFO:

REDUCING FOOD/OTHER WASTE WITH THIS RECIPE:

  • Since this makes 6 burgers, you might not need them all. Share with a friend or freeze (freeze buns separately) for a rainy day.
  • Burger buns often come in packages of 8 and you only need 6. Make breakfast sandwiches with the other two or grind them up for bread crumbs for your next batch of chicken burgers and freeze in a bag. (Breadcrumbs mold fairly quickly in the fridge, so the freezer is best.)
  • Avocado, jalapeño, cilantro, and tomato leftover? Time to make some pico de gallo to serve with chips or use for tacos or eggs. You can freeze mashed avocado and minced jalapeño.

MAKE YOUR GUAC A LITTLE SMOOTH RATHER THAN OVERLY CHUNKY SO IT STAYS IN THE SANDWICH WHILE YOU EAT IT.



Snow this last week in our mountains. (above/courtesy RMN Park)

LIFE GOES ON:

Our grandkids Piper (7) and Rhyan (17) came down with their mom Jami and made pizza with Papa on Saturday. Lovely day. There might be nothing better than this! And the smoke was gone; we ate outside. Thanks, God.


With Colorado western slope peaches coming on, it was time for peach pie last Wednesday. This one is my SHE’S A PEACH! BROWN SUGAR AND SPICE PEACH PIE.

Thanks for spending time with me in my kitchen; I so appreciate you! I hope you’re cooking well,

Alyce

Good listening/watching while you wait for the burgers to rest:

LAY IT DOWN/Allen Stone

Follow the lyrics here.

Very fun and uplifting Allen Stone video you might like if you’ve never seen/heard it or even if you have: CONSIDER ME

courtesy Episcopal Church Memes (btw–St. Chrysostom’s is in Chicago–my hometown. Love their idea!)

How to Deal with Renewed Covid Anxiety. As Restrictions shift, Americans struggle…/NPR

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