Spicy rubbed chicken burgers with Castello
aged Havarti and a tropical salsa
This recipe is in collaboration with
Burgers are perfect for easy weekday family meals, or even weekend get-togethers - they are an absolute favourite in my household. In this chicken burger - I love the spiciness from the rub which is balanced out with the freshness of the salsa. And the Castello Aged Havarti not only gives a creamy cheesy note but it's also been aged for 12 months, so it has a bold flavour with a slight caramel taste to it. It's the ideal pairing to bring all these flavours together! You can use chicken thighs or breast in this recipe...but thighs would be a great choice if you were going to BBQ the chicken. The rub, which is great for all meats can be made in advance (even gifted if packaged beautifully) and I always make a huge batch of it and it keeps it for weeks at a time in my pantry.
FOR THE SALSA
1/2 fresh pineapple
1 avocado (ripe, but not too soft)
Fresh lime juice
1 small bunch of chives, chopped (or parsley or coriander)
FOR THE SPICY RUB
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons dry oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons dried chilli flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
Pinch of cayenne for extra heat
FOR THE BURGERS AND ASSEMBLING
4 x medium chicken breasts, or boneless thighs
Olive oil for drizzling
Castello Aged Havarti, sliced
3/4 cup mayonnaise
Lime juice (to taste)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 x burger buns - I used milk buns, but brioche would be great also
Salad greens for serving
Preheat oven to 220 fan bake and put a rack on the second to top shelf in the oven.
For the salsa, dice the fresh pineapple into small cubes (removing and discarding the inner core), and add to a bowl. Dice the avocado and cucumber (I remove the seeds of the cucumber) and add to the bowl with the pineapple. Squeeze over some lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in the chives and set the salsa aside for now.
To make the rub, add all of the ingredients together in a bowl and mix well to combine. Take a tray lined with baking paper and place the chicken on top. If using chicken breast, you need to tenderise the fillet so it is the same thickness all over. I do this by covering it with baking paper and whacking it with a rolling pin - this helps it cook quickly and evenly. If you don't do this step, then the thin end will be dry and the thicker end won't be cooked enough. Drizzle the chicken with a little olive oil, flip the chicken, and coat the other side with the excess oil on the paper. Sprinkle over the rub so it is completely coating the chicken, then flip and do the same on the other side. Bake for 7-8 minutes in the preheated oven until just cooked through. In the last 1 minute of cooking, I added the sliced Castello Aged Havarti to the tops of the chicken so that it could melt over it. Once the chicken is cooked and the cheese has melted, remove and let it rest for 2-3 minutes. Alternatively, you can BBQ the chicken also.
While the chicken is cooking you can prepare the rest of the burger assembly. Take the mayonnaise and combine it with the lime juice and mustard, then season and mix well. Taste and check for seasonings or if you need additional lime. You can also add hot sauce to this mayo mix if you want to amp up the heat factor. Toast / warm your buns then spread with some of the mayo. Top with some salad greens, then add a cheesy chicken fillet on top, then spoon over a generous topping of that tropical salsa. Enjoy!