"Where's the beef?" Let's put it aside for the moment and instead choose a summery Greek-style chicken sandwich served with a chunky Greek tzatziki, updated with lots of vegetables from the garden.
My restaurant recipe request column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is a kick to write. I’m loving the stories from local restaurant families, the imagination of local chefs, the new techniques and ingredients I’m learning.
Every so often, a restaurant’s recipe is a house secret, not to be shared. That happened a few weeks ago – and the sandwich sounded so good, I decided to invent my own recipe! It turned out as a Greek-style burger, with feta and fresh spinach so instead of mayonnaise and ketchup, I mixed up a batch of Tzatziki Sauce.
Lucky for you, this new house recipe is no house secret.
GARDEN TZATZIKI SAUCE
Tzatziki [pronounced tza-ZEE-kee, pronunciation help)] is a traditional Greek sauce, often served with grilled meats. Traditional versions are a lot like the Cucumbers in Sour Cream I call Nana’s Cucumbers, just more saucy. I like to mix it up with other vegetables (olives would be good!) but it’s a concept recipe that begs for adaptation based on what’s in season and what’s on hand. Want an even simpler recipe? Stir a fresh salsa from the produce section into sour cream or Greek yogurt.
In a small food processor, one at a time, chop 1/2 a green pepper, 1/4 an English cucumber, 1 Roma tomato. Combine and stir in 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream or low-fat Greek yogurt. Season with salt and pepper to taste and chopped fresh herbs, if you like. Makes 1-1/4 cups.
CHICKEN BURGERS with
FRESH SPINACH, FETA and
GARDEN TZATZIKI SAUCE
Time to table: 30 minutes
- 6 ounces fresh spinach, stems removed if tough
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons panko or dry bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound ground chicken
- Garden Tzatziki Sauce (see recipe, left)
- Sliced cucumbers, optional
- Sliced tomatoes, optional
- Lettuce leaves, optional
SPINACH Rinse the spinach leaves in a microwave-safe colander, then place in the mike and cook on high until tender, 30 seconds at a time, for a total of about 90 seconds. Let cool a bit, then roughly chop. (If you like, use a small food processor, then make the Garden Tzatziki Sauce.)
BURGERS Combine spinach, feta, panko, onion powder, salt and pepper and mix well. Gently stir in the chicken, combining without compressing the mixture. Form into five four-ounce burgers, about a half inch thick.
GRILL Heat a grill pan on medium high, spray with cooking spray. Drop in the burgers and let cook, without moving, for about 5 minutes, then turn over and cook the other side for another 5 minutes. To make sure the chicken is cooked clear through, insert a probe thermometer into the center of one burger, the temperature should reach 165F.
ASSEMBLE Place a burger onto the bottom bun, top with Garden Tzatziki Sauce, then sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce and finally, cap off the burger.
LEFTOVERS The burgers reheat well and are good cold too.
Summer Is for Burgers!
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