Chicken Frickadellen with Caper and Lemon Topping

August 31st, 2009

If you want to try a different burger for the Labor Day weekend, this just may be one you will like. My husband has sworn off a lot of beef dishes and especially hamburgers for health reasons. Unfortunately one of my favorite foods in the world is a perfect hamburger on a toasted bun with just mustard and onions. I miss my hamburgers and when he is away I light up the grill and cook three burgers from a pound of ground beef and eat them for three consecutive nights to get my fix. Because of this, I am always looking for recipes that we both can enjoy when he is home.

Translated from German, frickadellen means “large meatballs, lightly flattened”. The recipe comes from Anna Pump of the Loaves and Fishes Market in the Hamptons and is featured in her latest cookbook Summer on a Plate. The burger is made from boneless chicken thighs and is seasoned with lemon juice Spanish paprika , cumin and cayenne pepper. After it is grilled it is topped with sauteed onions, capers, more lemon juice and minced parsley. You can serve it on a toasted bun the way I like it or as a dinner entree with a side of rice or couscous.

The actual grinding of the boneless chicken thighs takes a little time, but it can be done ahead of time. The cubed meat is placed in a food processor with a metal blade and pulsed until it is chopped. When mixed with the additions and formed into patties, it can rest in the refrigerator until you are ready to grill.

The topping is quick to assemble while the burgers are resting or on the grill. Just saute onions until soft, add drained capers and lemon juice and then garnish with parsley after adding to the finished patties.

Our family will be here for the Labor Day weekend. We have been working all summer to finish the cottage in anticipation of this special occasion, so I may not be posting for a while. Have a wonderful end of summer celebration and I will be back soon with new recipes and pictures of the “almost complete” cottage.


2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, skinned, trimmed of fat, and cut into large chunks
1 cup minced onion
1 cup soft fresh bread crumbs
2 large eggs
2 Tbls fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


3 Tbls olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup capers, drained
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup minced fresh curly parsley

Place the chicken in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse a few times until coarsely chopped. ( I did this in batches ) Transfer into a large bowl. Add the onion, bread crumbs, eggs, lemon juice, salt, paprika, cumin, and cayenne and, using your hands, knead until well combined. Shape into 8 patties.

To grill, brush the grill lightly with oil. Cook the patties over medium high heat for 12 minutes, turning them once.

To make the topping, in the olive oil saute the onion in a skillet over low heat for about 8 minutes until onions are light brown and glossy. Add the capers and cook 3 minutes, stirring a few times. Add the lemon juice, turn the heat to high and cook 30 seconds. Spoon the topping over the patties and sprinkle with parsley.

Printable recipe

12 responses to “Chicken Frickadellen with Caper and Lemon Topping”

  1. Mary says:

    These sound really delicious. I’ve found it helps to barely freeze the chicken before chopping it in the blender. You patties look wonderful.

  2. Yum, these look wonderful. I love beef burgers too and so far we’re still eating them. This is a great idea with the chicken thighs and I’m sure the Spanish paprika would add a lot of flavor since it’s so different from the Hungarian one. When you added bread crumbs and topped it with lemon and capers it was right down my alley.

  3. Yum, I love the cumin and cayenne. Will your butcher grind the chicken for you.

  4. Penny says:

    Mary, Good idea. It was fairly easy to chop the meat, but giving it a little stiffness couldn’t hurt.
    Sam, The chicken had a lot of flavor.
    Foodie, It depends on your butcher I’m sure. It doesn’t hurt to ask. It only took a little time to chop it in the food processor. It took more time trimming the thighs.

  5. Kate says:

    This is a great idea! Yum. Sounds as though you read through cookbooks, as I do!!

  6. delicious! Can’t wait to see you guys on Friday!

  7. Katy ~ says:

    Personally, I love a chicken burger, and this looks super good. Now I could eat this three days in a row while my Sweetie ate hamburgers!

  8. Penny says:

    Kate, I read cookbooks like novels. Glad you share my passion.
    Kristen, Can hardly wait to see you guys. The cottage is ready and waiting. Rachel’s room is darling. Love you and drive safely.
    GarlicBoss, Not familiar with you. Thanks for visiting.
    Katy, Sweetie pie may want you burgers!

  9. girlichef says:

    First of all…frickadellen is a fun word to say 🙂 And wow! These look and sound deeeelicous 😀

  10. That looks very tasty, I had no idea what frickadellen is. I agree with girlichef, it is fun to say – right up there with spatchcock!
    I am an onion and mustard gal myself. 🙂

  11. Toni says:

    Anything with capers on the top sounds great to me! I love the combination of chicken, lemon and capers, and I absolutely adore the name “frickadellen”!

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