Nothing wrong with a meal that has cheese in the middle. Especially when it’s enveloped in something healthy!

Chicken / January 28, 2017

The act of forming a chicken patty around a generous slice of mozzarella cheese is about as satisfying an act as possible. Especially when the chicken is also studded with sweet apple chunks, fresh thyme, a little sage, and other ingredients that transcend the usual idea of a “burger.” What’s even more exciting? At the end of the cooking process you will again be reunited with your cheese. See the oozing loveliness? Yep. They’re done.

You’ll find the texture of ground chicken to be a bit interesting. Endlessly sticky, (because there’s really no fat,) you will be tempted to avoid using it in your meals. And believe me, browning it alone for stews or tacos or casseroles will really set your “don’t do this again!-meter” to HIGH. However, by putting cheese in the middle and adding some of the other ingredients that are known for making beef meatballs luxuriously tasty, this recipe will climb the charts.

There’s just a few extra things I did when making this meal, so I’ll share some tips.

1. Finishing them in the oven makes all the difference – Chicken can burn easily, and to get them to temperature inside so the meat is cooked and the cheese is soft, by only searing them on the stove-top may create a crust a little too dark for most people. If you haven’t already, invest in a good stainless steel saucepan that will withstand temps up to 500 degrees F. It is that last 10 minutes at 400 degrees that will get you to the finish line.

2. Make sure your pan is hot enough at the onset – The act of bringing your pan and oil to a hot temperature before putting the patties in is key. You want a beautiful golden sear on each side first, without cooking the middle too much (they’ll taste dry!) before putting them in the oven.

3. Don’t forget this rockin’ sauce – You can serve them alone, but I chose to add some really good quality black cherry preserves to a Habanero BBQ sauce to finish off the flavors, and it was PERFECT. But I encourage you to experiment with other flavors and combine different preserves with different BBQ sauces. My only warning is that if you leave out the sweet element it will overpower the chicken. Be sweet. It’s a good rule.

4. You don’t have to serve with a starch – Yes, I know. All you meat and potato fans out there must be gasping. How will you get your clan to eat something without rice, or bread, or russets all mashed and brimming with butter? Cheese, people. Cheese. All tastebuds will be satisfied. (Kinda sounds like a prophecy, eh? Excellent. It was meant that way.)

5. Get creative with sides – The above are simply boiled carrots mushied up a little, and combined with butter and salt and a bit of honey balsamic from The Olive Crate. (They have the most awesomestest stuff on the planet if you’re interested…I encourage you to click and buy.) Then put them in a found cylinder and voilà! Gorgeousness and flavor.

With all this said, and illustrated, it’s time to get cooking, and try these delicious, sweet and savory, “gimme another one!”,chicken burgers today!


Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken, Apple and Sage Burgers With a Black Cherry BBQ Sauce and Creamy Honey Mashed Carrots

Serves 4-6


1 lb ground chicken
½ peeled sweet apple like Fuji or Honey Crisp (about ½ C) diced small
1 large egg
¼ C diced white onion
¼ C plain bread crumbs
1 T Greek yogurt (can substitute with 1 T light oil)
2 T fresh thyme leaves chopped
3 T fresh parsley chopped
1/8 T nutmeg
¼ t ground coriander powder
½ t ground sage
1 t garlic powder
Salt and white pepper to taste
8 generous slices of mozzarella cheese about 1 ½ inches by 1/8 inch
COOK IN 2 T light oil
2 T + 1 T unsalted butter


¼ C black cherry preserves
½ C spicy BBQ sauce (tomato based)

Carrot Mash:

6 medium carrots sliced and boiled until soft
3 T cream
3 T honey balsamic, like Olive Crate’s brand
½ t salt and ½ t white pepper


  • Mix together the chicken all the way down to the salt and pepper. Form into 8 patties that spread out a bit but not too thin. Place a square of cheese in the middle and form the meat mixture carefully over the cheese until sealed. Reform into patties that are about 1 ½ inches high.
  • In a medium hot skillet with about 2 T of oil and 2 T of butter added, sear the chicken on both sides until browned. This takes about 3 minutes a side and you’ll have to lower the heat accordingly because chicken burns easily. Don’t worry about cooking the center. After they’ve seared place the whole sauté pan with the burgers in a 400 degree F oven for about 8 minutes or until cheese bubbles well.
  • In another pan, heat the BBQ sauce and the cherry preserves until well combined and just hot. Don’t boil.
  • Boil the carrots in water until done. Drain the water. Using a fork or potato masher, mash the carrots until they’re small chunks. No need to puree. Add 1 T butter, the cream and the honey balsamic. Whisk well to combine. To serve, can be put inside a food mould to serve as a circle, or just alongside chicken burgers.
  • Garnish with a fresh sprig of thyme, a small wedge of Belgian endive drizzled with honey balsamic, and dribble all with the BBQ sauce.

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