Trouble With Toast

Recipe: Spicy Poblano Burgers with Pickled Red Onions and Chipotle Cream | August 19, 2010

It is no secret that I LOVE burgers.  Yeah, yeah, I know – burgers have become both hip and cliche, with every chef from here to Timbuktu opening an eatery that specializes in his or her special brand of meat-on-bun.  But dammit, I loved burgers before they were cool.  Ever since I had my dad’s backyard version – a small but THICK patty, charred on the outside and medium rare on the inside, seasoned and served simply and usually accompanied by fresh summer corn and sliced tomatoes – I was hooked.

I seldom meet a burger I don’t enjoy, from the thin, retro double-stack (a la H&F), to the grass-fed and creatively topped (a la Farm Burger), to the over-the-top classic (a la Vortex).  This Cooking Light version caught my eye not only because of its bold spice mix, but also because it used lean sirloin yet still claimed to be moist and delicious.

It lived up to its billing – this was quite a tasty burger.  The heat of the peppers and spices was balanced nicely by the sweet-yet-sour flavor of the quickly pickled onions.  The creamy sauce was a nice touch, especially with the crunch of the onions.  A few tips: 1) The recipe talks about a grill pan, but if you have an actual grill, definitely use it (I did).  2) If you have a gas range and you feel comfortable, charring the poblanos over the “open” flame will probably be faster and yield better results than broiling.  3) The pickled onions store well in the fridge and taste yummy on a large variety of sandwiches.  Don’t get rid of the extra!

  • 2  poblano chiles
  • 1  tablespoon low-fat milk
  • 1  slice white bread, crusts removed, and torn into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3  tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, divided
  • 1  teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2  teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2  teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2  teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1  pound ground sirloin
  • 1/2  cup light sour cream
  • 1  tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1  teaspoon  fresh lime juice
  • 1  can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • Cooking spray
  • 4  (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns, toasted
  • 1/4  cup  pickled red onions

Preheat broiler.

Place poblano chiles on a foil-lined baking sheet, and broil for 8 minutes or until blackened, turning after 6 minutes. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel chiles, and discard the seeds and membranes. Finely chop.

Combine milk and bread in a large bowl; mash bread mixture with a fork until smooth. Add poblano chile, 1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro, cumin, coriander, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and beef to milk mixture, tossing gently to combine. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, gently shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Press a nickel-sized indentation in the center of each patty. Cover and chill until ready to grill.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Combine the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in sour cream, shallots, and juice. Remove 1 chipotle pepper and 2 teaspoons adobo sauce from can; reserve remaining chipotle peppers and adobo sauce for another use. Chop chile. Stir chopped chipotle and 2 teaspoons adobo sauce into sour cream mixture. Set aside.

Place patties on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes or until grill marks appear. Carefully turn patties; grill an additional 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Place 1 patty on bottom half of each bun; top each serving with 3 tablespoons chipotle cream and 1 tablespoon Pickled Red Onions.

Pickled Red Onions

  • 1/2  cup  sugar
  • 1/2  cup  rice vinegar
  • 1/2  cup  water
  • 1  jalapeño pepper, halved lengthwise
  • 2 1/2  cups  thinly vertically sliced red onion

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add onion to pan, and cover. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.


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