But Matt Preston finds his expertise in all things pattified comes with a downside: it’s made him a tool of ‘Big Burger’.
Matt waxes lyrical on burger culture and conjures a killer chicken patty.
I AM A BURGER NERD. Over countless articles I have written about everything from the importance of structural engineering when constructing the ideal burger to the correct way to eat a burger in the street. What I have only recently realised is that, in doing so, I have become an unwitting pawn in Big Burger’s plans to take over the world.
If you doubt me, trust the internet. Google the words ‘burger world domination’ and you’ll get more than 400,000 hits.
And if you don’t trust the internet, then trust the evidence I’m about to lay before you: a grand culinary conspiracy is afoot.
THE BURGER PRESIDENT Burger chains have long been held up as the worst examples of American culinary colonialism, and with the ascension of Donald Trump, the burger bloc finally got their man. Trump is a long-term burger boy, whether ordering from Macca’s, from the special burger section of the menu at the Trump Tower cafe, or enjoying his favourite, the US$36, 1200+ calorie sirloin, short rib and chuck ‘21’ burger served at the 21 Club a few blocks from Trump Tower.
The Donald’s love of burgers was even held up by his shortlived communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, as proof that Trump wasn’t elitist. And the burger rhetoric continued when the now-departed deputy assistant to the president, Sebastian Gorka, described the scandal surrounding Donald Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer as a “massive nothing burger” (a phrase originally coined by Hollywood gossip columnist Louella Parsons back in 1953).
ONE BURGER TO UNITE THEM ALL On the face of it, Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey are at opposite ends of the political scale. She supported Hillary Clinton and threw massive shade on Trump’s suitability for the top job. Yet she describes the burger made with turkey mince, apple and celery at Mar-a-Lago, the Donald’s private club in Palm Beach, as “the best turkey burger in the entire world”. THE TURKISH REVOLUTION Is it more than coincidence that the political unrest in Istanbul centres on Taksim Square, home of that city’s famous late-night snack, steamed ‘wet burgers’? BURGER DIFFUSION Not content with being a tasty fast feed, fuelling public revolt and having its own president, the burger is also trying to colonise other areas of junk food; be it cheeseburger-flavoured Pringles, barbecue-burger-flavoured ice cream (seriously!), endless versions of ‘Burger Bites’, or the 750,000 cheeseburger pizza recipes and images on the internet. There’s even been a canned cheeseburger! Sure, you dismiss this as bogan junk food, but think on this: the UK’s most serious food icon, Nigel Slater, is not above making ‘burger spaghetti’.
Trump and Oprah… Protests and late-night snacks… Nigel Slater and junk food… What was that about politics making strange bedfellows? Anyway, to this month’s recipe, my take on the chicken burger.
MADRAS BUTTER CHICKEN BURGER MAKES 6 BURGERS
“I reckon a chicken breast is too cumbersome to go in a roll. The solution is to cube the chicken and set these cubes into patties mortared together with softened butter that then sets in the fridge. The result is a super-juicy, decadent burger that won’t explode all over you, and much of the butter melts away during cooking.” You will need 6 x 7.5cm egg rings for this recipe.
2 (about 500g) chicken breasts, cut into 1cm cubes 1 tbs hot Madras curry powder (substitute regular
curry powder) 1 tbs nigella seeds 60g unsalted butter, chopped, softened 6 small white burger buns or bread rolls 2 tbs mango chutney, plus extra to serve 1/ 2 cup (140g) Greek yoghurt 1/ 2 head butter lettuce, leaves separated Coriander leaves, thinly sliced long green chilli (optional)
and lime wedges, to serve
Line a tray with baking paper and arrange egg rings on prepared tray. Place chicken, curry powder, nigella seeds and butter in a bowl and stir until chicken is well coated. Divide chicken mixture evenly among egg rings and chill for 2 hours or until patties are set.
Heat a non-stick frypan over medium-high heat. Add patties in their egg rings and cook for 4 minutes or until golden. Flip patties and rings, and cook for a further 4 minutes or until patties are cooked through. Remove from rings and set aside, loosely covered with foil.
Split buns and spread chutney over bases and yoghurt over lids. Top each base with lettuce and a chicken patty. Sprinkle with coriander and chilli, if using, and season. Top burgers with bun lids and serve with extra mango chutney and lime wedges.