I was helping my son make arroz con pollo for a Spanish class project when it occurred to me that the ingredient combination of this chicken-and-rice dish would make a terrific chicken burger.
The result is a lighter, contemporary classic. Poblano and jalapeño peppers, scallions and cilantro add flavor and moisture to ground white-meat chicken, and the rice holds it all together.
I tuck the patties inside warm, folded flour tortillas, with lettuce and tomato; you could also serve them on your favorite buns. As added garnishes, sliced avocado, a sprinkle of lime juice or a salsa topping would all work. Serve the burgers as soon as they’re done.
If you can’t find ground chicken breast, trim the fat from boneless, skinless chicken breasts, then pulse the meat in a food processor to the right consistency.
Arroz Con Pollo Burgers
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup chopped scallions
1 small jalapeño, seeded and cut into ¼-inch dice
1 small or ½ large poblano pepper, seeded and cut into generous ¼-inch dice
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 pound ground chicken breast
1 large egg white
1 cup cooked long- or medium-grain rice
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium nonstick saute pan or skillet over medium-heat. Add the scallions and stir to coat. Cook for 1 minute, then add the jalapeño and poblano, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes, until the vegetables soften. Remove from the heat; stir in the garlic powder and cilantro. Transfer the mixture to a clean plate to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Transfer the cooled vegetables to a mixing bowl along with the ground chicken, egg white and cooked rice. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Gently mix the ingredients to combine thoroughly. Divide into four equal portions; roll each portion into a ball, then flatten it into a patty that’s about ¾-inch thick.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil on a griddle or in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook until well browned, about 3 minutes. Turn them over and cook until browned on the second side; the patties will not be cooked through.
Transfer the patties to the prepared baking sheet, then bake them for about 8 minutes or until the internal temperature of the patties registers 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
Per serving: 250 calories, 29 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugar