But this time, instead of trying to take the same flavors and turn it into something different, I decided to play with the idea of a hamburger. With the Memphis burger being inspired by Southern barbecue, I started to think about what other classic Southern flavors would lend themselves to a burger. I quickly settled on a jambalaya burger.
First, I had to decide what needed to stay to make the dish taste like jambalaya and would would need to go. When I make jambalaya I make it with shredded chicken thighs, Andouille, and shrimp, so I knew I wanted to keep those ingredients. I also wanted to keep the traditional flavors that come from onion, celery, bell pepper, thyme, garlic, and tomato. In fact, the only thing I was really cutting out was the rice. I decided to make a ground chicken patty with sauteed vegetables and herbs mixed in, topped with a thin sliced sauteed andouille and shrimp, and finished with a slice of tomato, ketchup, and cajun aioli.
The first trick was the ground chicken. You could purchase already ground chicken, though it sometimes hard to come by, but the real problem is that it is made with white meat and I really wanted the deeper flavor of chicken thighs. So I purchased two pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped them up into large chunks, and then pulsed them in batches in a food processor until they were finely ground.
Next I chopped up the onion, pepper, and celery into coarse chunks and pulsed them in a food processor until they were a very petite dice.
Next, saute the diced vegetables with some minced garlic and thyme until soft and mix it in with the ground chicken when it is cool enough to handle.
Form the chicken into 8 patties and cook in batches over medium heat for 5 minutes per side. Check it's temperature, if it hasn't reached an internal temperature of 170 degrees, finish it in a 400 degree oven until it reaches the correct temperature.
While the chicken burgers are cooking, slice 4 andouille sausages thin (about 5 or six pieces per sausage) and saute in batches in a separate skillet until starting to brown.
Peel and saute 8 jumbo shrimp until golden brown on each slide and then slice so they are half as thick.
Purchase or make your own cajun remoulade like this one. Toast your favorite hamburger bun, add the chicken patty, andouille strips, sliced shrimp, a slice of tomato, and ketchup and remoulade to taste. I had mine with some cajun potato salad from Weilands.
Lyndsay and Isaac and I enjoyed our burgers with our friend Liz. She suggested that in place of the potato salad some cajun flavored rice would even bring back the one part of the jambalaya I had left out. If you want to make your own, here is the recipe in detail:
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into large chunks (or 2 lbs ground chicken)
- 1 rib of celery, chopped coarse
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped coarse
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped coarse
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 4 hotdog sized andouille sausages, each sliced thin into 5 or 6 pieces
- 8 16/20 shrimp, peeled
- 8 hamburger buns
- 1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
- cajun remoulade and ketchup
- Pulse half of the chicken in a food processor about 20 times until uniformly ground. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. Clean out the food processor bowl.
- Pulse the chopped onion, celery, and bell pepper until it is petite diced. Saute the vegetables with the minced garlic, thyme, and salt to taste in a little oil over medium heat until softened. Let cool a few minutes before adding to the ground chicken.
- Mix the ground chicken with the sauteed vegetables and 1 tsp. salt until uniform and shape into 8 equal sized patties. Saute over medium heat 5 minutes per side and then check the temperature. If it is less than 170 degrees bake the patties at 400 degrees until it reaches the correct temperature.
- While the chicken is cooking saute the andouille strips and shrimp in a separate skillet over medium high heat until browned on each side. After the shrimp is cooked slice it in half so it is half as thick.
- Toast the buns and then layer the chicken patties, andouille, shrimp, slice of tomato and andouille and ketchup to taste and serve.
See you next week with some ideas from a new Columbus restaurant. Leave me a message in the comment section if you have any restaurant suggestions or anything you'd like to see in the blog.