Labor Day weekend is usually filled with last trips to the beach and pool, a parade of block parties and backyard shindigs, and dazzling fireworks. But as Hatch chile diehards are well-aware, it is also peak chile season! Get the best of both worlds this holiday weekend with Hatch Chile Cheeseburgers fromThe New Southwest by Meagan Micozzi. Micozzi claims that these burgers “could probably negotiate world peace, all while rescuing a herd of kittens from a tall tree,” and the winning combination of melting cheddar, roasted hatch chiles, and irresistible hamburger sauce will have you nodding in agreement. Chile aficionados will want to check out the cookbook’s other hatch chile recipes including Navajo Tacos, Stacked Squash Enchiladas, New Mexico Green Chile Stew, and Christmas-Style Seasoned Beef Burritos (with red and green chile sauces).
Hatch Chile Cheeseburgers Recipe
20 ounces 80/20 ground beef 4 ounces lean ground pork
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Hatch green chiles
4 thick-cut slices extra sharp cheddar cheese
4 sliced hamburger buns*
For the hamburger sauce:
2 ½ cups mayonnaise
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup dill pickle relish
1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
*I actually like to use telera-style sandwich buns here, as they are less bulky than conventional hamburger buns. Telera bread is occasionally sold in more ovoid shapes, so you’ll want to be sure to select buns that are as circular as possible. In the absence of telera bread, any hamburger bun may be substituted.
To prepare the burgers, place the beef and pork in a large bowl and season liberally with salt and black pepper. Taking care not to over work the meat, carefully form it into 4 patties, each approximately 4 inches in diameter. Use your thumb to make an indentation in the top of each patty. Place the prepared patties on a sheet of parchment paper and set aside in the refrigerator to rest for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, to prepare the fresh chiles, remove the stems of each and char the exterior of each completely, either by roasting over an open flame or slicing in half, spreading skin-side up onto a rimmed baking sheet, and roasting under a broiler. Once charred, carefully remove to a plastic ziptop bag or a large bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the skin on the chiles to loosen. After 5 minutes, remove the chiles, and using a sharp knife or even your fingers, peel or scrape away the blackened skins from each. Slice off the tops and bottoms of each chile and dice the remaining flesh. You may opt to scrape away themembranes and seed columns from each chile if you prefer to reduce their heat. Set the prepared chile pieces aside.
To prepare the sauce, whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, and vinegar in a large bowl until thoroughly blended. Whisk in the onion powder, sugar, salt, and minced garlic. Transfer to a glass, air-tight container and store in the refrigerate until ready to use. (This recipe will yield quite a bit more sauce than needed for these burgers; store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks—it will only get better with age.)
Once you are ready to cook and assemble your burgers, preheat your grill to high heat. Place the burgers on the heated grill, indented side up, and cook until marked and slightly charred on the bottoms, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook for 3 to 5 more minutes, depending on your desired degree of doneness. I recommend placing your sliced buns, cut side down, onto your grilling surface to toast lightly, although this is optional.
Remove cooked burgers and toasted buns from grill. Immediately top each burger with a slice of cheese. Slather both sides of each bun generously with some sauce, place burger on each bun, top with a generous helping of the diced chiles, and serve immediately.
YIELD: 4 hamburgers and approximately 4 ½ cups of sauce
Reprinted from THE NEW SOUTHWEST by Meagan Micozzi, courtesy of Hippocrene Books, Inc.