Green Curry Chicken Burger

1 pound ground chicken
About 1/2 cup Green Curry Paste (recipe follows; or substitute commercially prepared)
1/3 cup finely chopped, fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
7 to 10 sweet mini-bell peppers, stemmed and sliced into thin strips
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 cup dry white wine, divided
2 eggs
2 King's Hawaiian sandwich buns, or similar hamburger buns
4 slices Swiss cheese
Fresh spinach leaves, stemmed, as needed

In a large bowl, mix together the ground chicken, curry paste, basil, salt, breadcrumbs and brown sugar until fully combined. Cover and refrigerate chicken for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the olive oil, garlic and soy sauce and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Stir in the peppers along with a few grinds of black pepper, the five-spice powder and half of the wine; cook, stirring frequently, until wine begins to form a sauce. Add remaining wine and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until wine reduces to a saucelike consistency.

Shortly before cooking burgers, cook the eggs to over-easy in a skillet with a little olive oil. Set aside in a warm place. Brush insides of the buns with a little olive oil and place on a hot skillet to "toast" to desired doneness. Divide chicken mixture into 4 patties roughly the same size as bun. In a large, lightly oiled skillet (or grill, if desired), cook patties. Place a slice of the Swiss cheese over each of 2 burgers, then top with a second burger. Place a slice of cheese over remaining burgers. Lightly tent burgers with foil to allow cheese to melt. To assemble burgers, place a small handful of the spinach on bottom of each bun. Top each with a double burger and a mound of caramelized peppers. Finally, add an over-easy egg and gently press top bun over egg to release runny yolk. Makes 2 servings.

GREEN CURRY PASTE: Using a mortar and pestle, pound 6 minced Thai chilies (seeds and ribs removed to minimize heat) with 1 stemmed, seeded and minced jalapeno. Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and pound until chilies are reduced to a thick paste. Add 2 tablespoons minced lemongrass, 1 tablespoon minced galangal, 1 teaspoon minced kaffir lime rind, 1 minced kaffir lime leaf, 2 tablespoons minced shallot, 1/3 coriander root and 2 tablespoons minced garlic, pounding to a smooth paste; remove from mortar. Pound 1/4 teaspoon whole white peppercorns with 1 teaspoon coriander seeds until powdered, then add 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric and 1 teaspoon cumin, pounding until well-mixed. Add wet ingredients back to mortar and thoroughly combine wet and dry. Add 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste, pounding again to form curry paste.

NOTE: Galangal, kaffir lime rind and leaves, coriander root and shrimp paste are available at select Asian grocery stores.

— Recipe from Winston Woo, Orange County, Calif.


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