I LOVE a good crab cake. But I live in Austin, TX. This means that I basically have to be rolling in dough in order to eat decent shell fish (with the exception of Garbo’s, which is both incredibly delicious and mostly affordable).
In a never ending search for healthier food that doesn’t skimp on flavor or texture, I was given a recipe for Chicken burgers from an old buddy of mine. I immediately noticed that the recipe was styled similar to crab cakes, but used ground chicken instead of the luscious, but costly crustacean. You can easily grill this over charcoal or gas, but I do them in a pan on my stove to continue that cake style going. There are a few tricks in this recipe to keep everything from drying out as well. Top them with a little lemony greek yogurt sauce I make to substitute for the usual high-calorie remoulades or tartar sauces normally served with crab cakes, and dinner winds up being a very light, immensely flavorful delight.
The original recipe for this is comes from All Recipes and is noted as “By Teri“. I halve this recipe, as it still makes four really good sized burgers that can easily stuff two or three very hungry people, and made some alterations, including omitting most of the mushrooms and tomatoes which makes everything too wet and reducing the Old Bay, which made it entirely too salty. My friends generally prefer to have these on a bun, like a burger, but, as noted before, I eat mine like a crab cake with just some lemon and sauce. With my faux-aioli and lack of bun, you can eat 2 of these without feeling any guilt in terms of calories. Another great thing about these is that you can prep the veggies hours or even a day or two in advance, and throw everything together 30 minutes before you want to eat, making it a quick meal for mid-week.
Chicken Burgers (makes 4 patties)
3 TBSP olive oil (or cooking spray depending on your preference)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup buttons mushrooms, chopped
1 lb ground chicken breast
1/4 cup + 4 TBSP panko or flavored bread crumbs
2 tsp seasoning salt
1 tsp black pepper
Lightly spray a saute pan with cooking or oil spray over medium heat. Saute the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and carrots getting them slightly soft and a little golden, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside and allow all vegetables to cool completely.
Mix the 1/4 cup panko, egg, seasoning salt, and black pepper in with the ground chicken. Once the veggies are cooled and you’re ready to cook mix them into the chicken. Form into 4 patties. These are going to be pretty big. Grill them over medium high heat for 3 minutes per side or saute them in a pan with non-stick spray or olive oil over medium heat for about 4 minutes a side. I do mine on the stove top and pat each patty in a shallow dish with the remaining 4 TBSP of panko prior to dropping into the pan.
Serve with a lemony aioli, my greek yogurt parsley & lemon sauce, blue cheese crumbles and Franks Buffalo Sauce, or on a bun with mustard and ketchup. It’s all good!
UPDATE: Another Austin Foodie was kind enough to post his own thoughts on Hopdoddy’s and, as one burger lover to another, it is best and fair to also take his feelings toward Hopdoddy’s into account!
A few days ago Chip and I tried Hopdoddy’s during a hankering for a burger. Normally, we’d go to Phil’s Ice House or, if we were in a rush, P. Terry’s, but in the spirit of trying new things, we found ourselves at the newer Austin chain.
Yes, I did call it Hop Daddy’s for the longest time. Thanks for asking.
Background on Hopdoddy’s: Two guys, Larry Foles and Guy Villavaso, created this chain, one man based in Austin and one in Scottsdale, AZ. Now, about these two boys: They’re the brains behind Z-Tejas, Roaring Fork, Eddie V’s, and The Salty Sow, a new favorite, and all restaurants I’ve enjoyed in my life here in Austin. In November of 2011, however, these men decided to sell the rights to a couple of their eateries to the same corporation that owns Red Lobster and Olive Garden. A sale to the tune of $59 million. You read that correctly. And they, like anyone that just gets an absurd amount of money that generations of their kin can live off of, decided to create more restaurants. Because the restaurant business is known for being relaxing. Yeah, it’s crazy, but that’s what they did.
Hopdoddy’s was their newest venture. It offers a varieties of meat as well as a veggie option. All of their beef is hormone and antibiotic free and humanely processed. They also offer Bison, Turkey, Lamb, and Sushi-grade Tuna, and their buns are freshly baked twice a day. Their menu has some very appetizing combinations, including The Buffalo Bill (Bison, Blue Cheese, Frank’s Hot Sauce, Apple-Smoked Bacon, Sassy Sauce) and the Primetime (Texas Akaushi Beef, Brie Cheese, Truffle Aioli, Arugula, Caramelized Onions, Steak Sauce). Chip ordered the Llano Pablano (Angus Beef, Pepper Jack, Roasted Poblano Chiles, Apple-Smoked Bacon, Chipotle Mayo and, no, if you say Llano properly it doesn’t rhyme) and I got the Magic Shroom (Angus Beef, Texas Goat Cheese, Field Mushrooms, Mayo & Basil Pesto) with brie instead of goat cheese.
The Llano Pablano burger with fries.
The Shroom burger with Brie instead of Goat cheese.
The burgers were tasty, they really were. And for an order-at-the counter style joint, there was actually roving waitstaff to clear plates and refill drinks, as well as run orders out to tables. The fries were some of my favorite in town. The vibe is hip, the food good, and the price is to be as expected for the quality of the food you’re getting. So it’s by far a great experience all around. Is it great? Meh. I’m just partial because everyone’s favorite burger joint is personal to them. Luckily in Austin we’re spoiled by good burger bars and you only have to pick your favorite and argue endlessly over delicious versus delicious-er with friends.
P. Terry’s – Great for on the run and better than any Whopper Jr. you’ll ever had. AWESOME fries and good shakes, too. My pick for a fast burger that’s just the right size, fresh and flavorful, with great fries.
Hat Creek – A larger burger than P. Terry’s, but just as fresh with a few more options, but not as many locations as the hometown favorite. Lacks the awesome fries. Chip’s pick for on the go.
Phil’s Ice House – Super family friendly, right next to Amy’s Ice Creams, offers great burger combinations, sweet potato fries, and onion rings, and even have foot long corn dogs. This is my pick for a Saturday lunch when Chip and I want to sit for big burger that will fill us up right up to a late dinner.
Onion Rings and Footlong Corn Dog at Phil’s Ice House.
Crown & Anchor – Good burger, great lunch atmosphere, perfect for when I worked on campus and wanted an affordable and yummy burger, salad, and beer for lunch. It’s not amazing, there aren’t a ton of options, but it’s tasty and a little dive bar-esque, which is an excellent pick me up for the middle of your day.
Hut’s – Endless options of combinations, decent burgers, HUGE onion rings, and their Buy-One-Get-One on Tuesdays make them a super affordable choice for families and college students. Chip, myself, and a couple of friends practically lived there on Tuesday nights when we first moved to town and were trying to make it all work. Not saying they’re tops, just saying their an inexpensive alternative with an extensive menu.
Bottom line: Go to town; while out and about pick a local burger joint, because you can’t go wrong with any of the above.
For more Austin Adventures and Recipes be sure to follow me @TheNerdyFoodie.
* I’m not going to delay this. Everyone everywhere needs to watch this Lion King/Dark Knight Rises right now. It’s genius and brought to us by Moviemaestroten at YouTube.
* Worst. Food Promotion. Ever. Burger King has had the fabulous idea to offer a Dark Side Burger and a Jedi Knight burger in honor of Star Wars 3D. I really, really hope they decide against the black bun. [BuzzFeed]
* Just in case you haven’t heard, Ab Fab is back in a big, beautiful way. Jennifer Saunders discusses it’s rebirth, smoking, and aging with Vulture Magazine. [NYMag]
Photo credit BestMoviesEverNews
* Wheel of Fish never had anything this awesome. A blue fin tuna recently sold at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market for $736,000. At weighing in at 593 pounds, that fish wound up costing about $1,238 a pound. And I’m sure every bit of it is delicious. Mmm… [Inquistr]
* The New York Times had to issue a correction recently due to an error in a story from last week. And it was spectacular, hysterical. I’m honestly glad they took the time to correct something that was important to those they feature in a front page story. See the clipping below. [BestWeekEver]
Photo credit Kerri Hicks
* Welcome to something I like to call “The Grossest Thing Ever.” Apparently the new teen fad is Vodka tampons. No, they’re not soaking up vodka with tampons to drink later. Teens are soaking up vodka with tampons and inserting them into their vaginas for a quick, mild buzz. According to the article, boys can also do this, too, through something called Butt Chugging. I’m not kidding. My favorite part of this little expose, however, was when Dr. Lisa Masterson said that the practice of vodka tampon use would “…literally destroy the vagina.” I like to imagine Jim Gaffigan dressed as a woman doing his Hot Pocket skit, but replacing “It will literally destroy your mouth.” with the above quote from Doc Masterson. Awesome. [HuffPostCA]
* A new Doctor Who rumor has hit the interwebs. As we all know, Amy Pond and Rory Williams out – heart breakingly – out. Word on the street is that the new sidekick might be none other than, Miranda Hart, an actress I know best as Diplomatic Officer Chloe Alice Teal of Hyperdrive. She’s funny, punky. She may not be my first pick for a replacement, but I’m not too sure I have one…’cept for maybe Gwen Cooper. [Blastr]
* Benedict Cumberbatch is going to be the new villain in the Star Trek sequel! I am over the moon about this! I can’t wait to see his Smaug and now I get him in Star Trek. Just fantastic, very exciting! I think 2011 is really going to be his year. [MTVNews]
* Speaking of Star Trek AND Doctor Who, ex-Who sidekick Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke) is also rumored to have signed on to the sequel. I loved him…until he got all up in Martha Jones, who I couldn’t stand. There’s going to be a number of cocky, villainous gazing come that movie. [Variety]
* And, finally, Portlandia performs Salt n Pepa’s Push It