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Try this tasty twist on the traditional burger

Tired of the same old burgers and dogs at every backyard barbecue you attend? Well, here’s something new and juicy to put between the buns, but it may leave you asking, ‘Where's the beef?’ Food and Wine magazine challenged a few chefs to create a burger with a twist and Shawn McClain of "Spring" in Chicago, James Boyce of "Studio" in Laguna Beach, California, and Suvir Saran of "Devi" in New

Tired of the same old burgers and dogs at every backyard barbecue you attend? Well, here’s something new and juicy to put between the buns, but it may leave you asking, ‘Where's the beef?’ Food and Wine magazine challenged a few chefs to create a burger with a twist and Shawn McClain of "Spring" in Chicago, James Boyce of "Studio" in Laguna Beach, California, and Suvir Saran of "Devi" in New York City, have some delicious results to offer. They were invited to appear on “Today” to show off their creative concoctions. Check out their recipes:

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Spicy Poached Chicken BurgersJames Boyce

6 servings

Active time: 25 min. Total time: 45 min.

James Boyce of Studio in the Montage resort in Laguna Beach, California, is a hard-core mountain biker. His devotion to fitness inspired him to do the nearly impossible: Create moist, low-fat chicken burgers. Instead of grilling them, Boyce cleverly poaches the chicken burgers in a spicy broth, which he reduces to make a delicious topping.

1. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil and stir in the couscous. Cover the saucepan, remove from the heat and let stand until the water has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and let cool.

2. In a large bowl, gently mix the ground chicken with the couscous, chopped mint, ground cumin, grated lemon zest, pine nuts and 2 teaspoons of salt. With lightly oiled hands, pat the chicken-couscous mixture into 6 burgers. Cover the burgers tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, coarsely mash the avocados with a fork. Stir in the lemon juice, jalapeño and shallot and season with salt.

4. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a very large, deep skillet, bring the stock to a boil with the harissa. Season the burgers with salt and pepper. Set the burgers in the skillet and simmer over moderately low heat until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the burgers to a rimmed baking sheet, cover with foil and keep warm in the oven. Boil the poaching liquid over high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 6 minutes.

5. Set the pitas on plates. Top with the chicken burgers and spoon some of the reduced sauce over them. Garnish the burgers with the avocado mash and the mint leaves and serve.

Make ahead: The uncooked chicken burgers and the avocado mash (covered with

plastic wrap presseddirectly onto the surface to prevent discoloration) can be refrigeratedovernight.

Note:
Harissa is available at Middle Eastern markets and specialty shops.

912307660481269352915360569water0.5cup1/2 cup waterinstant couscous0.5cup1/2 cup instant couscousground chicken2pound2 pounds ground chickenchopped mint2tablespoon2 tablespoons chopped mint, plus several whole mint leaves for garnishground cumin2teaspoon2 teaspoons ground cuminfinely grated lemon zest1teaspoon1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zestpine nuts2tablespoon2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted and finely choppedKosher saltHass avocados22 Hass avocadosfresh lemon juice1tablespoon1 tablespoon fresh lemon juicejalapeño11 jalapeño, partially seeded and mincedsmall shallot11 small shallot, mincedchicken stock or low-sodium broth2cup2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium brothharissa (see note) or asian chili-garlic sauce2tablespoon2 tablespoons harissa (see note) or Asian chili-garlic sauceFreshly ground pepperpita breads6Six 6-inch pita breads, warmed

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Recipes provided by chefs Shawn McClain of "Spring" in Chicago, James Boyce of "Studio" in Laguna Beach, California, and Suvir Saran of "Devi" in Manhattan. Copyright 2004. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission. To learn more about Food and Wine's Burger Contest, you can visit: www.Foodandwine.com