KLEIN KAROO CHICKEN BURGER
This one started out while on holiday in an ancient and massive villa, almost but not quite a castle, on a hilltop overlooking the countryside of Umbria in Italy. On that occasion, the sauce was served with veal but back home, the sauce found its true home on chicken. We call it the Klein Karoo Chicken Burger because of the strong agricultural association that the beautiful part of South Africa has with some of the core ingredients; namely, olives, wine, and when it’s in season, bright-red sun-ripened tomatoes. The fact that the Klein Karoo in South Africa gives Umbria in Italy a run for its money in terms of climate and natural beauty also doesn’t hurt.
- 4 chicken breast fillets
- 4 hamburger rolls
- 1 lemon (or 2 small lemons or limes)
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 4 garlic cloves (crushed and chopped)
- 1 cup olives (pitted and roughly chopped)
- 1 tot capers
- 1 pack/tub (in oil or water, 200–300 g) sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 cup white wine
- 200 g feta cheese (optional)
- 2 tomatoes (sliced)
- fresh basil leaves
- Place the chicken breast fillets on a chopping board and cover with cling wrap. Now pound the thick side of each piece of meat with a meat mallet, wine bottle, rolling pin, side of a meat cleaver or any other item of sufficient weight and size. You want the meat to relax so that the whole fillet is more uniform in thickness. This step will make the meat easier to braai, better-looking on your burger and more tender to bite. While the cling wrap will not aid in any of these goals, nor influence the final taste of the burger, it will prevent small pieces of chicken meat flying all over the place. If you’re trying to use less plastic in your house and don’t have cling wrap, don’t perform this step inside the kitchen. Go and stand in the garden where small pieces of chicken meat can freely roam!
- Squeeze lemon juice over the chicken fillets and let that soak in for a few minutes. Now give each chicken fillet a light coating of olive oil. Either brush each fillet with oil or pour a bit of oil onto them and toss them around until they are all coated. Also season the meat with salt and pepper or your favourite braai salt.
- While you wait for the fire, chop the onion and garlic, and remove the pits from the olives. Drain the capers.
- When the coals are almost ready to braai the chicken, start to make the sauce. Place a fireproof pot or pan over the heat and sauté the chopped onion in oil for a few minutes. When the onion has colour, add the garlic, olives, sun-dried tomatoes plus their sauce, and the drained capers. Regularly toss this mixture with your wooden spoon until it is well combined and starts to ‘fry’. You do not need to add any salt as the sauce will contain enough of it via the capers and olives.
- Add the white wine, stir and then let the sauce gently simmer, stirring now and again so that the wine can reduce by half in the time it takes you to braai the chicken.
- Braai the meat for about 6–10 minutes on hot coals until it is done. The nice thing about chicken breast fillets is that you can actually see the meat colour changing from raw to ready on the braai. Take the meat off the fire when ready.
- Oil the insides of the cut rolls and toast on the grid, taking care not to over-toast (burn) them.
- Assemble the burger: Roll, tomato, chicken, sauce, feta cheese (optional), basil, roll.
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