This week we take a culinary road trip to the Southwest US for flavorful burgers to keep your summer grilling interesting. Variations of green chile cheeseburgers prevail throughout the Southwest, but they all have one thing in common: roasted New Mexican chilies piled high on a meaty cheeseburger. This version dials up the flavor quotient even further by spicing up the burger and rounding out the toppings with the sweetness of a grilled onion, says cooking instructor and cookbook author Molly Stevens, who created this recipe for Real Food. The result? A magnificent amalgam of juicy beef, melty cheese, sweet heat, and irresistible flavor.
Green Chile Cheeseburgers
Makes 6 Burgers
1¼ cups coarsely chopped fire-roasted green chilies, preferably New Mexican Hatch (see Cook’s Notes), divided
2 pounds ground chuck, preferably 80% lean
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large red or sweet onion, peeled and sliced into rings
1 teaspoon olive or vegetable oil
6 to 12 slices pepper jack or Monterey Jack cheese (see Cook’s Notes)
6 hamburger rolls, preferably brioche
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
sliced tomatoes, for serving
lettuce for serving
- Measure out about ¼ cup chilies and chop into ¼-inch pieces. Set the rest aside.
- Break the ground chuck into 1- to 2-inch bits and drop into a mixing bowl. Add the ¼ cup chopped chilies, cilantro, cumin, chili powder and salt. Mix gently to incorporate the seasonings without compressing the meat. Shape into burgers, about 3/4-inch thick, without compacting. Press a dimple in the center of each burger (which prevents them from puffing up as they cook).
- Heat a grill, grill pan or heavy skillet to medium hot. Toss the onion rings with oil, and cook, turning as needed, until soft and browned, about 6 minutes. Set to the side to keep warm.
- Arrange the burgers on the grill or in the pan, and cook, flipping as needed, until desired doneness, 6 to 10 minutes. About 1 minute before burgers are done, top with cheese and allow the cheese to melt. Toast the rolls while the cheese melts—on the edge of the grill if grilling, or under the broiler if cooking indoors.
- Butter the rolls and top the burgers with roasted chilies, grilled onion, tomato and lettuce. Serve immediately.
- The traditional green chile used to make chile cheeseburgers are New Mexican chilies—sometimes labeled Hatch chilies after the town where they originated—a variety prized for its earthy flavor and sweet heat. If you can’t find New Mexican chilies, try Anaheim or Poblano, or shop for canned fire-roasted green chilies.
- If you’re starting with fresh chilies, you’ll need to first roast and peel them. Here’s how: Place the chilies on a hot grill, under the broiler or directly over stovetop flames, turning frequently with tongs, until charred and blistered all over, 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside until just cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Cut in half lengthwise, remove the stems and seeds, and scrape away the charred skin with a small knife. Taste a small piece. If the chilies are too spicy for your taste, briefly soak and rinse. Otherwise, do not rinse. The chilies may be roasted and peeled a day in advance.
- For the best burger-to-cheese ration, you’ll want about 1 ounce of cheese per burger; this means either 1 thick slice or 2 thin slices.
Nutrition info Green Chile Cheeseburgers (Per Serving): Calories 590; Fat 35g (Sat. 15g); Chol 135mg; Sodium 840mg; carb 28g; Fiber 2g; Sugar 7g; Protein 37g
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