Chicken Burger with Spicy Peanut Sauce and Creamy Avocado
From the beaches of El Salvador to the beaches of Equatorial Guinea, the scenery in the part of the alphabet is fantastic! Luckily the food has been really good too 🙂 Equatorial Guinea is located on the west coast of central Africa. It’s comprised of 5 inhabited islands and continental lands (along with some small uninhabited islands). Total land mass is a bit smaller than Maryland. It is bordered by Cameroon and Gabon.
Equatorial Guinea is fortunate to have large stores of gas and oil, so they are much wealthier than many of the other countries we’ve visited in Africa. In fact, according to CIA World Factbook, they rank 29th in GPP per capita. Unfortunately distribution of wealth is not very even amongst the 650,000 people. Equatorial Guineans have endured corruption and extremely poor human rights for many years. There are some signs of improvement and attempts at reform underway, but so far it sounds like they’ve gone from absolutely “atrocious human rights” to “pretty bad human rights”, but at least it’s moving in the right direction, right?
The food and flavors of Equatorial Guinea are familiar regional flavors. Lots of spice, cassava, peanut butter sauces, etc… In deference to the average Equatorial Guinean, I decided to stick with chicken as being more achievable for everyday eating. I marinated chicken breast in lemon juice and cayenne to give it both a tang and a bite, then I ground the breast to make the burgers. As I’ve mentioned before, with chicken, I’ve found this technique makes a huge difference both in texture and flavor – I don’t think I’ll ever go back to store bought ground chicken. Try it out, you’ll love it.
Because we’ve done the cassava and the sweet potato starch options multiple times, I went with a simple rice base (I think I’m rebelling against the heavy, complicated holiday foods because I’ve been more drawn to simple flavors than ever lately). Of course with African food there’s usually some stewed greens, I cleaned this up and simplified it and just use fresh spinach.
The clean flavors of the rice, spinach and chicken then needed a little pizzazz – enter our spicy peanut butter sauce and some decadent avocado. The end result is the perfect antidote for the holiday overeating: just enough fat and richness to satisfy, but lots of fresh bright elements to balance it out. We served the burgers with a nice crisp Sauvignon Blanc (I like Kendall Jackson), it complimented the burger beautifully.
Equatorial Guinea Burger
1¼ pound boneless skinless chicken breasts but in chunks
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon cayenne (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
1 Tablespoon peanut oil
2 cups cooked white rice
Spicy Peanut Sauce (recipe below)
1 avocado roughly mashed
In a glass bowl, combine the chicken, lemon juice and cayenne and let sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. Drain off the excess marinade and grind the chicken on fine-grind setting. Form four patties. Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet. Cook the chicken patties in the hot oil until cooked through.
To serve, start with ½ cup of cooked rice, a few leaves of baby spinach, cooked chicken patties, Spicy Peanut Sauce and top with ¼ of the mashed avocado.
Spicy Peanut Sauce
1 small onion diced (about ½ cup)
1 Tablespoon peanut oil
1 habenero pepper seeded and cut into quarters
1 Maggi brand chicken bouillon cube
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic minced
Juice of 1 lemon
½ cup natural peanut butter
½ cup water
In a small saucepan, heat the peanut oil and sauté the onion for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the habenero pepper and sauté for another two minutes (you can remove the habenero at any time depending on hot spicy you like it – I left it in until the end, but you can adjust to your taste – Africans would probably just mince the peppers and leave them in the final sauce).
Turn heat to low, crumble the Maggi cube and add to the mixture along with the bay leaf and the garlic. Sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, peanut butter and water. Turn the heat up to medium low and dimmer for 5 minutes. Serve hot or luke warm.
©Copyright 2012 Linda Monach