Yemi’s Food Stories: Making a good chicken burger
Last updated Jun 16, 2023
Chicken burger at Six Poor Folk, Knaresborough

Yemi Adelekan is a food writer and blogger who was a semi-finalist in last year’s BBC TV’s Masterchef  competition. Every Saturday Yemi will be writing on the Stray Ferret about her love of the district’s food  – please get in touch with her if you want her to review a restaurant, visit your farm, taste the produce you sell or even share a recipe.  


A reader suggested I visit Six Poor Folk restaurant in Knaresborough so I went there with a friend. As it was a lovely day, we decided to sit in their outdoor garden.

Service was prompt as the waiters came within minutes to take our orders but we needed a few minutes to make our choices. We chose the beef burger cooked medium and the chicken-chorizo burger both served with fries.

The beef burger arrived with the beef cooked medium as expected and came with sautéed mushrooms, cooked onions and cheese (see below). The chips were crunchy and lightly seasoned; the salad had a light and delicious dressing of balsamic vinegar and it didn’t feel oily or over-dressed.

With my chicken burger, I didn’t know whether to expect a ‘bird’s eye’ type chicken burger, a chicken escalope or schnitzel.

Escalope is beaten, flattened and breaded meat that can be fried or baked in an oven; schnitzel is a version of escalope that is fried.

Many nations have their own version of breaded meat from a Southern American favourite chicken-fried steaks, German chicken schnitzel, chicken katsu that is made from ‘unflattened’ breaded chicken to the Veal schnitzel which is Austria’s national dish but may have originated from Northern Italy as costoletta alla Milanese.

As I waited for my burger, I imagined what it could be so when it came, I quickly lifted the ciabatta bun to see sliced roasted chicken and chorizo on top of grilled ciabatta bread, and some spiced mayo which reminded me of piri-piri seasoned mayo (see main image) . It was delicious but nothing like what I thought it would be; a burger always makes me think there will be a ‘pattie’, breaded or shaped and grilled minced meat.

The roast chicken was tender and juicy and the mayonnaise melted into the bun to create a decent bite. It was more like eating a good roast chicken sandwich than eating a chicken burger.

I enjoyed dipping my chips into the Hellman’s mayonnaise that was on the table which is one of my indulgences. Overall it was a good lunch at a reasonable price and would make for a nice day out. Its closeness to Knaresborough castle and the high street means you can head out for some sight seeing after your meal.

Here’s my take on a chicken burger:

Step 1 – make chicken Kiev filled with wild garlic butter, chopped parsley and some Korean (Gochugaru) or Kashmiri chilli flakes. The chilli is for colour and not heat. Beat and flatten the chicken, place the flavoured butter in the middle before folding the edges and rolling until the butter is fully encased by the chicken.

Chill to set before breading it by first rolling in seasoned flour, then in beaten eggs before a final roll in panko bread crumps. Chill again before deep frying for 2 – 3 minutes (190°C) until golden; finish in a preheated oven (180°C) for 12 – 15 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken is cooked through or until internal temperature of the chicken is 65C°.  Be careful when you check it with a probe as you don’t want undo your hard work by letting the butter ooze out.

Step 2 – make your own spiced mayonnaise to go with the chips, a food processor will make an easy job of this

Step 3 – Grill your Ciabatta or sliced sourdough bread. I will use a crunchy bread so it can absorb and hold the melted butter without falling apart

Step 4 – lightly dress some fresh salad. This is the one time you can get away with an undressed salad as the melted butter is already packed full of flavour.

Step 5 – Assemble your burger with the salad, topped with the chicken and another layer of salad. I usually have pickled vegetables so I would add a bit for some extra tanginess.

Enjoy with several napkins as you will definitely need them to wipe the oozing wild garlic butter from your chin and any left over drips on the plate would be perfect for mopping with your chips.

This weekend, I am at the BBC Good Food show in Birmingham. I am next at the Harrogate Food Festival on the 24 June so hope to see you there.

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