Harissa chicken burgers with grilled vegetables you say? Yes, I can understand why you might be moist at the thought. They certainly look delicious. But first, a shock announcement!
I’m a closeted heterosexual – Paul is a marriage of convenience and I pick up ladies on the side using the name Jason Dickthrust; I’m becoming a Vida Devina coffee seller – ah wait no, I didn’t fail my BTEC in hairdressing;
- we’re going to be doing the odd sponsored post.
No I know! You might be crashing your lips at the thought of us selling out and I’m sure I can hear someone crying out that I’ve got the integrity of a milk dildo at the very thought, but here’s the thing. We don’t saturate with adverts, we don’t spam. We’re only ever going to do sponsored adverts on one condition: we can be brutally honest and it doesn’t change the writing style of the blog. So don’t worry, please. We’ll always give an alternative to the product (see recipe below) and if we’re recommending it, it’s because we actually use it, not just because we’ve been given money to say it. The only man who can put his hand up my bottom and make me speak is my doctor when he checks my prostate. Which was weird, because I’d only gone in to see about my ingrown toenail.
Plus, I mean look – I work all night and I work all day to pay the bills I have to pay. Ain’t that sad? And STILL there never seems to be a single penny left for me. I’d go on the game but I hate owing money.
Anyway, in the spirit of twochubbycubs and being open and honest, whenever we do a sponsored post (which I promise will be the rarity rather than the norm) we’re going to post this subtle banner to keep you informed, much like the tiny ‘P’ symbol that appears on Corrie to show you might see Sawfee Webster using a Nationwide cash-machine:
No I know, it’s barely noticeable. It was going to be Paul rolling around on a sea of pound coins like Scrooge McDuck but his fat would suck the coins up and he’d be paying out for weeks after like a faulty fruit machine.
So what are we peddling? The Optigrill. It’s like a George Foreman grill, but more pleasant to look at and far more efficient at even cooking. Our current George Foreman is currently stuck in what we call our Gadget Graveyard – the forgotten cupboard under the breakfast bar that we’re both too fat and lazy to get to. I mean, it involves moving the trolley and meh, too much effort. Currently in there is the George Foreman, the egg cuber (I’m sorry), a billion and one cake-tins, the electric can opener which did more damage to my wrist than any can before it, two Actifrys (not because they’re broken, but just because wanted the newer model, so shallow) and possibly a cat. The George Foreman went in there for two reasons:
- I absolutely bloody hated cleaning the thing – it would sit there greasy and in the way, fouling the air – and I’ve got Paul to do that, I don’t need anything else; and
- I was sick of eating meat that was scorching hot and dry on the outside whilst wet and raw in the middle. I like consistency in my dinner, not a Bushtucker Trial.
Luckily, both those problems were solved by the Optigrill, and we’ll get to that.
What does it do?
Put simply, it’s a grill. You put your meat in it and it cooks it. Big deal you might say, I can do that and I’m only sixty pounds an hour, no kissing. But see this is more than a grill. This clever grill measures the thickness of your meat (ah it’s like being a teenager all over again) and adjusts the timings to compensate. The front of the grill is adorned with various settings for burgers, chicken, bacon, sausage, red meat or fish,
Let’s take steak as an example (and you’ll see our steak recipe later down the line). Say you fancy a well done steak – simply take your steak and leave my house for not eating properly. I’m very much of the vein that all you need to do for a good steak is wipe the cow’s arse and throw the steak for a moment or two on the grill. I want my steak to moo.
But no, if you want rare, you simply press the button for red meat, wait for it to preheat, and once it is up to temperature, throw on your meat and pop the lid down. The grill then measures the steak and adjusts the time it takes to get to rare – you’ll hear it sizzling away and once the big LED light is yellow, take out your steak. Want it medium? Wait until the light is orange. Want it well done? Wait for red.
It’s all terrifically simple. It can cook from frozen – simply press the frozen food button and then the meat you want and off you go.
It also cooks vegetables and other stuff – there’s a nice manual mode that is easy enough to use. In short, if you can grill it, this will do it and leave satisfying marks on the food.
Here’s what we’re going to do. For the next few recipes, we’ll be using the Optigrill, and we’ll tell you how it cooks various things, rather than give you a blanket ‘omg it’s proper lush’ tut. But a few other points.
How does it look?
Stylish. If you’re a fan of brushed steel, coloured lights and sexy hinges, you’re going to be thrilled. It doesn’t take up a massive amount of space on the worktop and it doesn’t look like a cosmonaut’s helmet, unlike some other gadgets. It’s got some heft to it – it’s not so heavy that you can’t lift it without a few lines of protein but it doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall apart the second you ask it to grill anything other than a sprig of parsley. That’s reassuring, because the Optigrill is an expensive product and you’re going to want it to last.
It really couldn’t be easier. We left it out on the side and our cleaner cheerfully dealt with it. No I’m kidding, we did it ourselves. Like big boys. Anyway our cleaner is still in intensive care from cleaning our bedroom for the first time and being overcome by the miasma of Slimming World farts that greeted her. All the grease and fat dripped into the sturdy drip-tray under the machine leaving only the plates to clean and – THIS IS A REVELATION – these detach and can be popped in the dishwasher. No more scrubbing away with a sponge and your own tears.
Here’s the thing. Do you need an Optigrill? No. If you’ve got a grill, you can make do. It’s fancy, it makes life easier, and it has shiny buttons which appeal to the magpie in me. But if you’re in the mood for a new gadget, this does fit the bill. If you’re thinking about getting a worktop grill and you can afford a bit more, buy it. We’ve used it for a week (and you’ll see the various recipes coming up with the results) and found it useful. £120 useful? Yes, if you have the disposable income, less so if you’re watching the pennies. It absolutely does what it says so fair play to Tefal for that and we be keeping it out on the worktop for a little while yet.
You can have a look for yourself by clicking here, where it’s currently reduced in price.
Right, shall we get to the recipe? It’s a wonder! Grilled harissa chicken summer burgers. Oh yes! Harissa paste can be found in most supermarkets and is a blend of chillis and other fragrant spices – it’s not too hot, but feel free to swap it out for a gentle rub. Said that before. Hell, lemon and garlic marinade would work just as well!
to make harissa chicken burgers you will need:
- 2 large chicken breasts (the ones from our Musclefood deal are perfect!)
- 2 tbsp harissa paste (2 syns)
- handful of rocket leaves
- 1 large red onion
- 50g reduced-fat mozarella (4 syns)
- one large beef tomato
- 1 tbsp red pepper houmous (see note below)
- 2 wholemeal rolls (2x HeB)
Things to note: we used a brioche bun for our burger because frankly, we deserved a treat. To make this Slimming World friendly, make sure you use a HEB bun. I don’t want Mags coming round forcing you to grill your fingers as penance.
We also chose to syn the mozzarella rather than HEA it. You can have 70g as a HEA but see, 50g is enough for two, and I couldn’t be arsed to work out percentages of HEA. Have yourself a glass of milk and calm down.
The chicken is from our Musclefood bundles – we like them because the chicken doesn’t look like a prawn once it’s cooked, unlike those supermarket breasts! Plus we’ve always got a good deal on them.
Finally, we didn’t syn the houmous – we used our own recipe and added roasted peppers into the mix, but if you can’t be bothered with that, 1 tablespoon of red pepper houmous from Tesco is 1.5 syns.
to make harissa chicken burgers you should:
- cut the chicken into chunks and rub the harissa paste all over – leave to marinade as long as you can
- slice the tomatoes, mozzarella and onion into thick slices
- time to sort your onion and tomato: slice both into big, thick slices – about a centimetre thick – and squirt with a bit of oil then:
- if using an Optigrill, press the manual mode twice to get it to preheat to a medium heat, and then put the thick slices of onion and tomato to grill and cook on both sides for about 7 minutes – you want them softened and charred
- if you’re using a normal grill – bit of oil, put them on a tray under the grill for a few minutes, but remember to turn them at least once so it’s nice and uniform
- next, cook the chicken:
- if using an Optigrill, keep the same setting as the onion and tomato and pop the chicken on, then close the lid and cook for as long as it takes for your chicken to cook through – we cut ours into tiny chunks so we were done in five minutes, but please make sure it’s cooked through – the skitters might be good for weight loss but think of your poor nipsy;
- if using the grill, same as above – cook for a few minutes, remembering to turn things, and make sure it’s cooked through
- whilst that’s cooking, assemble the bun by slicing and spreading houmous along the bottom half, then topping with rocket and the mozzarella slice, followed by the tomato and onion (with maybe a pinch of salt)
- when the chicken is cooked, remove from the plates (or pan or whatever) and spoon on top of the burgers
- quickly toast off the top half of the buns by putting them straight into the Optigrill or under the grill
Big thanks to @TEFALUK and @Foodies100!
Craving more? Of course you are, you dirty girl. Just click on one of the large, throbbing buttons below to get even more ideas to stuff your hole!
Phwoar, that was a long one! Listen, if you’ve come this far, maybe you’re willing to come a little further – can you let us know what you think about this style of sponsored post? I’m hoping you agree that it isn’t all gushing and cloying and we’ve kept our writing style, but I do want feedback! Enjoy!