I’m lov­ing

But Matt Pre­ston finds his ex­per­tise in all things pat­ti­fied comes with a down­side: it’s made him a tool of ‘Big Burger’.

delicious - - CONTENTS -

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.

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